Confessions of a Sin Eater

Confessions of a Sin Eaterkirkus-reviewsA riveting read


“A finely crafted, thoughtful look at the modern-day morass
of America’s prison System”
Kirkus Reviews


John Henry Greaney is in maximum security, but he’s not an inmate; he’s a psychologist, there to provide care and comfort to the worst monsters society ever created. Eager to help his patients, he listens to their stories of rape and murder, plots of riots and bloody revenge, unaware that with every prisoner he treats, he’s damaging himself.  Trying desperately to adapt, he gradually goes from a free-spirited healer to a self-destructive nihilist more frightening than most of his patients. Looking for redemption in his work, he reaches a stark conclusion: The American prison system is not only a catastrophic failure, but a factory that breeds monsters, almost all of whom end up back on city streets. Mailer’s In the Belly of the Beast and Bissonette’s When the Inmates Ran Walpole each gave society a disturbing look at life inside American prisons.  Confessions of a Sin Eater shows, for the first time, prison through the eyes of the people who work there, living in the margin between civilization, and the violent wasteland know as maximum security. Greaney’s firsthand account challenges the wisdom of punishing criminals and questions the way society differentiate between them and the mentally ill. It illuminates the world behind the walls, and illustrates the effects prison has—not just on the inmates, but on everyone who works there, and on society as a whole.