INDIANAPOLIS - A western Indiana prison is dealing with an aging inmate population by training prisoners to give end-of-life care for their cellmates through a hospice program.
The Indianapolis Star reports reports the program at the Wabash Valley Correctional Institute in Carlisle, 35 miles south of Terre Haute, was the idea of a prisoner who had watched a friend die of lung cancer four years ago without a single outside visitor. Since the program was started three years ago, inmate volunteers have cared for 50 convicts in their final days.
Volunteers receive 40 hours when they sign up for the program and an hour a month of on-the-job training. The hospice ward at Wabash Valley houses up to 10 inmates, and 12 inmates are trained to serve as their "companions."