Finbar Manghan's New Book, THE MYSTERIOUS STORY OF GITANO CERVANTES, is Available Now
According to reports by CNBC, there are 2.3 million state and federal prisoners consuming $74 billion annually. In spite of that level of expenditure, a defective judicial apparatus and incarceration programs that lack accountability have led to a criminal justice system that is not sustainable and that Americans should not tolerate.
This is what volunteer prison chaplain Finbar Manghan said he discovered in the course of his ministry at five prisons located in a state corrections system in the American southwest. He explores his experiences and offers vignettes of tormented prisoners and their mistreatment or serious neglect by courts and corrections officers in "The Mysterious Story of Gitano Cervantes."
He tells of an older inmate with COPD who for more than three years has been confined to a single occupancy cell in the prison infirmary because he requires the use of an oxygen canister. Only rarely being allowed to take the mobile device outside the infirmary, this "general population" inmate-for no justifiable security reason-has had to live almost constantly in solitary confinement. Although he could have at least attended religious services, in violation of his rights for many months, even this was not allowed. When the inmate asked Manghan to find out more about the policy regarding his situation, Manghan was dismissed.
"A chaplain's role is to provide pastoral care to prisoners-by trying to make sure that they are spiritually, physically and emotionally sustained while paying their 'debt to society'," Manghan said. "Pursuing an offender's legitimate concern by inquiring as to official policy-which was my job-was treated as implicit criticism of the policy," Manghan said. "Volunteers, some of the only unbiased witnesses to the inner workings of prisons, in spite of their desire to benefit the system can undermine their chances of doing so by asking questions. We can't tolerate this."
After his dismissal Manghan continued to correspond with several of the inmates with regard to the likely innocence of two of them, and maltreatment of the others within what he calls, "our broken system of criminal justice." Through personal testimony, trial transcripts and investigation, Manghan compiled the accounts of the men for whom he continues to fight.
"The Mysterious Story of Gitano Cervantes"
By Finbar Manghan
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and ArchwayPublishing
About the author
Finbar Manghan is a pen name used by the author to maintain anonymity. Manghan worked for more than eight years as a prison chaplain in several facilities. His unique access to prisons in serving as chaplain allowed him to witness the injustice that drove him to write this book.