A Priest in Hell: Gangs, Murderers and Snitching in a California Jail
This gritty memoir describes the painful reality of crime and punishment in a California jail, beginning on November 5, 2005, when the author, a parish priest in a small town in northern California, is arrested and charged with 10 felonies after a large bank deposit attracts the attention of the authorities. After an investigation, his congregation learns that he mortgaged the parish house, took the money, and then sold off the church itself. Convicted of embezzlement, forgery, and fraud, he spends six months in prison before a plea bargain leads to his release. Older than most of the prison population at age 54, the author discovers that his background as a priest makes him both a target and a confidant within the prison walls. As he writes about his own anger and contrition, he also introduces the stories of several of his fellow inmates, detailing their struggles and presenting a frighteningly real and powerful sense of the tastes, smells, sounds, and indignities of jail life.
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