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The Invisible Sentence

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Verna McFelin

The incredible story of how a woman and her family survived poverty and injustices, and yet received miraculous provision. How did a woman who suffered such trauma go on to change the face of the justice system in New Zealand and the world?

Verna’s and her children’s lives changed forever when police knocked on her door one evening and her husband was arrested for a kidnapping then tried and sentenced to eleven years in jail. While visiting various prisons over the next few years, Verna realised that the families of prisoners were also serving their own invisible sentences outside the prison wire.

“… a story of institutional maltreatment, of bureaucratic indifference, of the traumatisation and bullying of her children, of individual acts of cruelty and generosity, of hardship, of the value of collective strength and support, and resilience and faithfulness in the face of adversity. —Sir Kim Workman KNZM, QSO