One of the things that really gets me about fiscal conservatives is that, on the one hand, they bemoan the crime that befalls society, but, on the other hand, they fight tooth-and-nail against government funding for preventive programs. They simply don't seem to comprehend the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
People who grow up amid grinding poverty, rampant discrimination, drugs on every street corner and widespread abuse of all kinds are pointed down a bad road by default. It is difficult for a person with a good heart to maintain it in such a retched environment. When violence in its many forms is all you experience on a daily basis -- particularly during your formative years -- it exerts a big impact on the kind of person you will grow into.
Why do some individuals escape from the nasty script written for them? More often than not, it is because some adult -- coach, teacher, counselor, minister, social worker -- interceded at a critical point during a child or youth's early years and showed them a potentially different kind of script. (Of course, it isn't always someone outside the family. It could just as easily be a mother, grandmother, uncle or cousin.)
This is why preventive social programs are so important. With parents working so much these days -- at least those who can FIND work -- a lot of children are left to their own devices for much of the afternoon and evening. If these kids live in bad environments (and it's not just children from financially poor families either), that bad environment is likely to rub off on them. Without someone there to show them there are more productive and positive ways to live, their chances of finding this out on their own is very limited.
It comes down to making a choice between spending oodles of public money for law and order and the prison-industrial complex OR spending a bit less to prevent the need for so much law and order. Put in the terms of health care, would you rather spend money on fighting a cancer you've been diagnosed with OR spend money to prevent the cancer from forming in the first place?
To me, the answer to the above question is obvious...in both cases!