Even At Our Lowest, We May Give.Sep 3, 2013 Tara 0 Buddhism, Current Events, Featured Posts.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dickens
Half of the 5,000 inmates at the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola are serving life sentences, and it is estimated that 85 percent of them will grow old and die there.
For some of these men, there is also the chance — and the challenge — to serve others in the most humbling, selfless and compassionate way imaginable: shepherding their fellow inmates through hospice care as they enter their last weeks and days of life in Angola.
Edgar Barens’s documentary examines one of the nation’s very first Prison-based Hospice Programs, a program that notably incorporates inmate volunteers into the care of other dying inmates.
Some of the Hospice volunteers have been quoted to say, that it is the first time they’ve known to share compassion.
“We’re supposed to correct deviant behavior, that’s what corrections is. I can teach you skills and trades and I’d just make you a smarter criminal, unless we get something in your heart — unless we become moral,” Warden Burl Cain said in a filmed interview. “The criminal person is a selfish person who gets whatever he wants by taking it. The way to be the opposite of that taker is to be a giver; the ultimate gift is to be the hospice caregiver. Hospice is a test. Have you changed or have you not? This is your way to prove it.”
As a result of this, and other programs just like this, the incidence of prison violence has dropped significantly. What they’ve found is that by helping others, these prisoners have begun helping themselves. “You just make a smarter criminal unless you put something into their hearts.”
Now *this* is something very much worth talking about ~ instead of that twerky jerky VMA silliness.