In this particular prison, inmates take care of prisoners on their deathbeds.
“I listen to people’s regrets, their stories, their happiness, their joy,” said one if the inmates named Fernando Murrillo. “I listen to their confessions. I listen, I see people’s family members come in, I greet them. I befriend somebody when they’re perfectly healthy, walking around, I’ll take care of them when they’re unable to talk and I eventually hold their hands when they’re taking their last breaths.”
Inmates help staff a 17 bed, medium-security medical hospice facility, where prisoners are brought when they have six months or less to live.
“They’re doing everything we want. What we could do before, they’re doing it for us now that we can’t do it, they do it for us,” said one of the patients named Patrick Rodriguez. “There’s one comes in here, he’s reading a Harry Potter book for me.”
Inmates also assist nurses with changing diapers and bathing patients — but most importantly, they make sure no one dies alone.
“I’m a lifer, I’ve been incarcerated since I was 16 years old and one of the most horrifying things for me to think about is dying in prison,” said Murrillo. “So, empathizing with any human being that I encounter coming through these doors, I know that they feel the same way."