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.