The author is a bit of a shady (but smart) character. The first part of the book establishes the reality of St. Louis politics and the underworld of black versus white. He uses the street language which seems accurate - but overdone. Street gangs, niggers, motherfuckers, drug dealing trash talkers, and etc., all mumbling unintelligible one word sentences like the black rappers.
The second part of the book the author tones down the rhetoric slightly, and he displays a genuine talent for describing a modern minimum security prison. The picture he presents is not good. He contends that the politicians that control the money to operate the prisons are defunct, and our prisons have been deteriorating for years. The author's experience takes him into great detail about the day to day requirements for an inmates survival. It's pretty grim.
He presents worrisome statistics that proving his point; that our prisons teach the inmates how to be better criminals instead of teaching them how to take steps toward rehabilitation. The number of inmates that serve their sentences and are released not prepared in any way to rejoin society huge. Frustrated and adrift they soon commit another crime and are returned to prison. Our prisons have become a revolving door!
Years ago American prisons had become really bad, dirty, and vastly overcrowded places. Then rising crime rates and overcrowding made them worse. So, we built new, more secure, and improved facilities. Actually, we overdid it . We created a greater division between white collar crimes and violent crimes. It became a white folks vs black folks conflict.
If sentenced as a white collar criminal the inmate was sometimes housed in near luxury.
If sentenced as a violent criminal the inmate was housed in considerably worse conditions.
For example: This resulted in the 1970's with the convicted savings and loan executives living in prison "country clubs" complete with TV in their cells, computers, golf courses, swimming pools and other luxuries. It is said that this program no longer exists? Hmmm.
America's population is now increasing even faster. The level (and viciousness) of of crime is rising so quickly that our prisons face disaster. The overcrowding (mostly with drug offenders), and more released prisoners - are returning again as inmates. The politicians say they have no more money for prison improvements. The judicial people say they must follow the huge number of new laws. The overall result is soon to be much greater threat to our society.