The US sends people to prison for minor crimes (usually minor drug offenses, three strikes, child support, probation violations, etc.). Then after these people finally get out of prison & have paid for their crimes, society continues to punish them & refuses to give them a job because they have a criminal record (even Walmart won't give you one for at least 10 years after an ARREST for any drug offense, let alone a prison sentence!). What are they supposed to do to support themselves, pay their bills, feed themselves? Even the most determined person will eventually get desperate if they get hungry enough & will turn back to some form of crime just to feed themselves & their family or to keep a roof over their head & clothes on their back. A person can make one simple, stupid, lame mistake & they will pay for it for they rest of their life (long after they've paid their legal 'dues'), because society will never let them forget about it.