Combining extensive interviews with his own experience as an inmate, John Irwin constructs a powerful and graphic description of the big-city jail. Unlike prisons, which incarcerate convicted felons, jails primarily confine arrested persons not yet charged or convicted of any serious crime. Irwin argues that jail disorients and degrades and instead of controlling the disreputable, actually increases their number of helping to indoctrinate new recruits to the rabble class. In a forceful conclusion, Irwin addresses the issue of jail reform and the matter of social control demanded by society.
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