‘Serving Life’: Facing Death, Inmates Find Humanity


A caretaker and his patient in the documentary Serving Life.

Courtesy of Oprah Winfrey Network

A caretaker and his patient in the documentary Serving Life.

 

Tell Me More is doing a weeklong series on aging and the end of life, a difficult journey for everyone — and especially for those behind bars.

 

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is America’s largest maximum-security prison, with more than 5,000 inmates. Many are serving sentences for rape, kidnapping and murder. Their sentences are so long that very few inmates will ever experience the world beyond bars again.

But Angola warden Burl Cain believes that even the most hardened criminals deserve to be well cared for as they reach the end of their lives. He created the Angola hospice program, which is largely supported by other inmates, in 1997. It’s the subject of the documentary film Serving Life, which premiered this summer on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It explores what is owed to a dying prisoner, and whether the experience of caring for him can help the hospice workers transform their own lives.

 

Continue Reading @ NPR

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