Why criminals? There are devout Catholics who would have loved to be in that position. Talk about casting pearls before swine!
"I was sick and in prison and you visited Me. ... Inasmuch as you did it to one of these least of My brethren, you did it to Me."
The scribes and Pharisees said of Jesus, "Why does this man eat with tax collectors and sinners?" They wanted Him to associate only with the "devout."