Perhaps one of the most important lessons that I've learned in my 43 years is that the term "Criminal Justice System" is a misnomer. Almost as big a misnomer is the term "Correctional Facility". Because the justice in this system is in short supply, and there is nothing corrected in a prison facility at all. The entire system is nothing more than an industry fueled by human warehousing, an ominous publicity campaign used to make the average American feel safe by incarcerating a perceived threat, and while there are some who are in deed public menaces. There are many more who are non-violent offenders who will always be viewed as threats because they have been cycled in and out of the system and are not allowed to contribute to society. They become part of an underclass, a growing subculture in which they exist in a vacuum.
It is virtually impossible for the formally incarcerated to become gainfully employed because most employers will not hire felons. They are not eligible to vote because they have a criminal record, and the law prevents them from getting government loans or grants for higher education.
Although we make up only 3% of the total population in The United States, African-American men make up roughly 30% of those incarcerated. These men, who've paid their debt to society are forced into paying that debt for a lifetime because of the fact that they have little or no opportunities to redeem themselves, or make a positive contribution to society. They become pariah's, boogey men used as examples of the very worst that America has to offer. Many of them long to make their American dream a reality. But in order for anyone to build a future they need the necessary tools. Without them freedom comes at a price that they cannot afford, and the dream becomes a nightmare.