I really only took one Criminal Justice class when I was in School. That has not stopped me from thinking about what is going on inside these borders. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and by quite a bit. Within the last 20 years there has developed a private prison system run by companies instead of States. It costs something like 25,000$ a year to keep a prisoner in prison. That is more money than a vast segment of the population makes in a single year. I personally think that as long as so much money is being made off cheap prison labor nothing will change. There will be no gun control.. there will be not much loosening of current drug laws it ensures that the labor pool will continue to find themselves locked up and made to make products for these different private prison firms and or States.
Excellent article in The New Yorker about the incredible rate of prisoners in the US and reasons why this has come to be.