Sandra Fish joins the show to talk about her work as an advocate for compassionate end of life care in prisons.
Finding a Better Way (Opening) – Sandra Fish talks about her work with Humane Prison Hospice Project as an activist working to establish hospice care in San Quentin Penitentiary and training volunteer hospice workers. She explains the need for compassionate end of life care, regardless of a person’s past crimes.
“There needs to be a hospice in every prison. It is not really hospice if you are transferring inmates from San Quentin who have lived there for decades. This is their family, their homes. With the inmate situation, it is tighter than familial bonds. It is so hard to explain just how important it is for them to be near those people.” – Sandra Fish
A Right to Humanity (12:35) – Some feel that these prisoners deserve to be in prison and die there the same way that they lived, alone and in pain. Sandra discusses the ethical questions around prison hospices and the human rights of prisoners.
“These men that we train did things when they were very young and have gone through so much. They are so far and above most people that I run into on the street because they own what they have done completely. As far as the people who are dying who have done horrible things and people think should have a horrible death, I don’t see how that is helpful. I feel like it says more about us than it does about them. That moment when we die is incredibly important, I don’t think we even understand how important it is. So to think that by letting someone who was a bad person die badly, which there are very few of those type of people in prison, doesn’t make sense to me. I understand the emotional feelings people get, but the value of helping someone through that very important time helps us too.” – Sandra Fish
Opened Eyes (23:00) – Sandra shares her inspiration for becoming an advocate for inmates.
“My eyes just opened up, where I could never shut them again.” – Sandra Fish
Living Every Moment Like it’s the Last (33:00) – We are all going to die, but we don’t know when. Dale and Sandra talk about living life as if every moment is the last.