One writer for the universities' mainstream paper the Oregon Daily emerald, prisons and a life of crime as a great deal of correlation with one's economic status. http://www.dailyemerald.com/opinion/u-s-problems-rooted-in-poverty-1.1484913
One the (many) systemic problems emerging from this class tragedy, happens to create sub-tragedies. The Prison industrial complex, fed by judges who who get kickbacks from private prisons. Judges who are not getting kick backs have their hands tied twofold, one with the alternate pressure to convict, because they know the prosecutors and have a working relationship and two because they length of sentences and imprisonment requirements of many offenses are becoming stricter. These effects in turn fill the prisons and create new sets of problems.
The 'criminal' largely held on account of an already biased system, will be subject to various forms of torture. A few being solitary confinement or 'the hole' which allows no outside contact. This amounts to sensory depravation. 'Treatments' and 'correctional' tools are horrible and draconian, encouraging only fear. A fear-based society being one that most would not appreciate. This system designed to scare or create a dissuading factor for criminals has the opposite effect! Indeed many incarcerated gain greater skills, some become a part of almost compulsory prison gangs. Both of which effect one's behavior outside prison, in this way the 'justice system' is counter intuitive.
The system is justified only by the serial killers, those seriously deranged (Although even these people can benefit from humane treatment, counseling and other non-physical interactions). Aside from this factor there is no incentive to actually lock people up. At least there wasn't until prison labor came around. Based in compulsory civic service (forced manual labor), the modern system contracts the captive prisoners and makes them do labor- for the profit of industry. This becomes essentially slave labor, where the worker is compensated as a sub-minimum wage. Further, one prison feeds only basic nutrients and puts the humans into tents, amid squalor. It is unclear today which is more toxic the mind of the vicious criminal or the mind who delights in creating torture for the captive human.
Like the man who invented lynching, Mr.Lynch, who used the technique to break the captive spirit and set an example. The prison keeper will confine, effectively torture and make a slave of the confined inmate. This system justified in a false sense of justice, and maintained as a state-run, for-profit slavery, this is an injustice.