Serving Life

We have Personal Support Worker’s who work in long-term care facilities. There are those that prefer to work in retirement homes. Some enjoy working with clients in a community setting. How about… PSWs who work in prison. WAIT, it get’s better: The people acting as the PSW are inmates themselves, helping to take care of other inmates.

I saw a documentary with the same title of this blog update and it blew my mind.

Serving Life documents prisoners in a Louisiana penitentiary who have volunteered for their hospice program. The inmates spend 2 weeks learning the basics of palliative care and how to properly care for their fellow inmates who are dying. We’re not talking dainty men on men here. We’re talking men who have been convicted of first degree murder. Armed robbery. Assault. Grand Theft Auto – you name it & someone’s done it. Some of these men have never been to a funeral. A man who once shot another human being in cold blood suddenly has tears in his eyes when he sees someone much older and frailer than him practically knocking on death’s door. I’m watching this… and I’m thinking, YES, THIS is a GOOD idea.

The inmates who volunteer for this program aren’t privy to another inmate’s information. They do not know what the person they are caring for is in for.

It’s as if they’ve made their own nursing home but inside a prison. Older inmates aren’t cognitive. Some even refuse palliative care. The same principles that I use with my resident’s is parallel in this documentary. If someone is on the edge of death, inmates take turns at 4h intervals to stay with them to make sure that they don’t die a lone.

Yes, they’re still criminals. Would they and SHOULD they be trusted to do this outside of their barbed wire home? Absolutely not. But this is their life now. THIS is their community and these people are now their family. Why not contribute and learn empathy.

“God doesn’t erase past actions. But this doesn’t do any harm for the future.”

It’s on Netflix. I HIGHLY recommend it.

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