Called to Care is one of the main ministries addressing the needs of people with disabilities that has been supporting the efforts of the Hard Time Alliance, which is organizing Arizona's Hepatitis C + prisoners/ex-prisoners and their families. They had us give a little presentation at their coordinating meeting a month ago (where they had an awesome main speaker), and were on hand for the Candlelight Vigil last month at the ADC. Robert's also been a real support to my friend and comrade, Julie, who's trying to get either treatment for her son in prison or a pardon / compassionate release so he can get care in the community before the disease progresses further.
Anyway, I don't think these folks would mind if a few of us crashed this meeting in order to address concerns about the terminally ill in prison: is there even hospice space available to release dying prisoners to? Do hospice workers go into Arizona's prisons or jails? Does Hospice of the Valley deal at all with the prisons (like training other prisoners to be end-of-life caregivers, for example)? Are they a resource for the families of elderly and terminally ill prisoners?
I'm sure the rest of you can think of more questions to ask. Do just that - ask questions that concern these issues - wherever you go. In fact, if you can, make a point of going to things like this specifically to engage the rest of the community in a relationship with people dying behind bars: we have to do something about the hang-up on compassionate release (word is, there have been none/few signed by the governor since the Baseline Killer - that means Janet let a lot of sick people die in there who the ADC found eligible and the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency recommended for release).
So, if you have a chance to talk with someone from the American Cancer Society or other patient education/support/advocacy groups, please speak to the issues of compassionate release and hospice care for dying prisoners. If they hear it from several sources, maybe they'll jump in and help.
Thanks again, Robert, for your kindness and solidarity.
------------------from Called to Care---------------------
This is a reminder for the Called to Care Coordinating Council meeting, Sunday, June 27, 2010, 12 noon, Anthony Lounge, First Congregational United Church of Christ,1407 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix, potluck, carry-in meal. All are welcome. Sue Bartz, First Church member and Hospice of the valley Patient Insurance Department Coordinator, organized this speaker meeting. She invited Heather Chapple, Community Liaison, Hospice of the Valley, to speak on "The Hospice of the Valley's Senior Placement Service" that helps families find appropriate care for their loved ones at no cost to the family. Check attachment for details. For more information, contact Robert Koth by telephone at: 602-284-4159 or by email at: RobertKoth1@cox.net.
Our speaker, Heather Chapple, is a long-time Valley resident, moving to Arizona from Colorado in 1988, Heather served in the U.S. Navy for four years as an executive assistant at a submarine base in San Diego. She joined Hospice of the Valley in July 2009. She works as a community liaison, giving educational presentations about end-of-life care. Heather graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in education. I hope that you can join us to hear this exceptional speaker.