Let me clarify. My family is middle class.
I personally am not. I live with my mom who makes 30 something k a year plus my dads pension which is another 20-30 k a year.
I make 17k a year with no college education working full time with no benefits.
I pay for my own car, my own health insurance, my own car insurance, rent, some groceries and house necessities, gas (which in itself is a significant portion of my weekly earnings), and other misc. bills.
My mom pays a morgage, electric, water, cable, internet, car, insurance (both health and car), the majority of groceries, home improvement necessities, housing items both big and small, and other misc. bills.
My mom has enough money to live comfortably. I make enough to live with my mom and live comfortably. She could afford to help me pay for college, but that's because with my dad's pension she is in upper middle class rather than lower middle class, and has some extra to spare. However, that would mean she couldn't save for retirement.
And I'm not talking a 30k a year college. I'm talking about community college which is where I was going until the money ran out.
Regardless this is drastically off topic. I mentioned the education thing because it was a clear example of how our prisons do not serve to punish but rather to reward criminals for bad behavior by handing them something that is out of reach for many many people in the country.