The question itself is way too vague, but I can't think of a short and proper question to use as a title. I was just wondering if in some cases, giving people a criminal record will cause more harm then it should. I know they are put in place as a punishment for deviating from established laws, rules, and norms. But, once people get a criminal record, regardless of what it was issued for, doors to opportunity close rapidly. Then you have someone who presumably already had some problems, but now they have this huge obstacle to overcome, can't figure it out, and might end up turning to criminality as a way out of this conundrum. So then it feeds a cycle of crime, the person will be sent back in jail, make more illegitimate connections, learn new tricks of the trade, and internalize criminality as a legitimate means to an end. Therefore, is it smart to stick a kid with a criminal record when he's arrested for having a few grams of pot, if he got out of hand when drunk, or any handful of other minor infractions that stand the chance of making the kid a career criminal?