During the 1960s, there was an "alarming" increase in the crime rate in the United States. This was one of the factors behind Richard Nixon's election as a "law and order" president. He also made the first reference to the "War on Drugs" that was part of his crime control initiatives.
The criminal justice system has to deal with some difficult cases. While ostensibly designed to mete out punishment, protect society from the dangerous and engage in varying degrees of rehabilitation, it is sometimes faced with handling cases where there may be no bad guys, but there seem to be many victims.