National Catholic Reporter

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ANGOLA, LA

Louisiana prison's hospice program eases the dying

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Warden Burl Cain has said prison is for predators, not dying old men, but Louisiana’s tough sentencing laws mean a lot of old men die while incarcerated.

In Louisiana, rape, armed robbery and murder warrant life without parole, so in a maximum-security prison like the one Cain runs at Angola, the result is that 95 percent of inmates die in prison.

That sobering reality led Cain to launch a hospice program that trains specially screened inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary to care for their dying “brothers” and be with them in their final journey.

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