This is exactly the point I've been making in other threads about how tax policies that increase income inequality lead to a breakdown in the social contract among people. In the U.S. we use prison as the bottom rung of the welfare state - throw as many people at the bottom of society into prison as possible and let them rot, feeding, clothing and sheltering them at tremendous expense to the state. We should be spending heavily on job training and rehabilitation of the least violent criminals and not be putting them into hardcore prison situations to train them to be the worst of violent criminals. We shouldn't be permanently disenfranchising rehabilitated criminals from the democratic process either. This situation has a ripple effect on the underclass, helping to break up poor families and forcing the un-incarcerated partner into worse poverty. The death penalty is just one more way of pretending that we haven't created this horrible social mess and that we're not at least partially responsible for producing so many hardened criminals capable of shooting at 12 year old boys as they stand on the front steps of their homes. If you want to lower the crime rate we should raise taxes on the rich, spend on rehabilitation of criminals, spend heavily on community support services for poor urban and rural families and make free abortion widely available to all women.