Sunday, April 21, 2013
Prison Inmate Hospice Volunteers: Can They Change? (Video 2:55)
Thousands in need of end-of-life caregiving die in prison every year. Some people ask, “So what? Did these prisoners treat their victims with dignity? Why be concerned about their death journeys?” One response is that society should be held to a higher standard of treating prisoners better than they treated victims. At several prisons, inmate hospice volunteers serve as caregivers for terminally ill inmates. There are those who say this is the ultimate test for inmates to prove whether they have changed or not.
Serving Life, a film that premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), documents a hospice program inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison at Angola. Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker narrates and produces this film. Hospice volunteer inmates viewed as hardened criminals care for dying fellow inmates at this prison where inmates have average sentences of more than 90 years. Can these inmates find redemption through caregiving involvement with hospice care?
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble .