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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inmates Helping Inmates, Inside Prison Hospice


Here & Now Guest:

An extraordinary new book of photographs called “Grace Before Dying” shows us a different side of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which has a reputation as one of the most dangerous prisons in the country.

The photos show the inmates, who volunteer in the prison’s hospice program helping other inmates suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses in their final days.

Photographer Lori Waselchuk told Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock, “These photographs may challenge stereotypes about incarcerated people and I hope inspire solutions to improve the criminal justice system.”


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  • Aashlock

    Here and Now producer Alex Ashlock here, wanted to mention that Lori Waselchuk received a grant to distribute her book to prison librairians and hispitals and groups that do outreach to prisons.  

  • http://lizybee.wordpress.com EF Sweetman

    It is humanizing to see the compassion wrought from the dying in such a brutal place as prison. This program serves both the hospice patient and provides his fellow inmate the opportunity to practice merciful care.

  • glenn

    Lori Waselchuk’s exhibit is at the Photographic Resource Center through July 10. http://www.prcboston.org

  • Crowstar

    What a great and important book.  Death as the great equalizer touches the heart of those in some of the worst charnal grounds on the planet: the brutal American prison system.  Those of us looking from “the outside in” are humbled by these images of human tenderness and compassion.  Also check out Dharma in Hell:The Prison Writings of Fleet Maull.  The author started the first prison hospice system while serving fourteen years in maximum security medical facility in Missouri during the height of the AIDS epidemic.  He teaches ‘contemplative end of life care’, leads and is a Spirit Holder in the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau, is Acharya in the Shambhala tradition of Chogyam Rinpoche, among other things.  Thank you Lori Waselchuk for this powerful book.

  • Crowstar

    Alex,
    Thanks for the information on Lori’s grant.  I’ll send this to Human Kindness Foundation which oversees The Prison Ashram Project, in case Lori hasn’t already contacted them.
    Peace and Blessings,
    becky

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