We are on a mission to implement and support end of life care in prisons. The need is growing in a crisis manner as there is a huge aging prison population and in most prisons there are no hospice programs in place, leaving at worst, the inmate to die alone in great suffering, or at best the inmates as the default untrained (as well as in their own trauma) caregivers. We have developed a program (modeled after similar programs already being used in over 35 prisons in the United States) to train and support the incarcerated to be the caregivers for their fellow dying inmates. This approach has not only proven to be incredibly comforting to the dying but profoundly transformative for the inmate caregiver, and extremely important to inmate family and friends. We are thrilled to be partnering with a program of volunteer inmates known as the Brothers Keepers, trained as certified crisis counselors. They were formed in 2005 to help prevent suicide in San Quentin. The Brothers Keepers have been asking for training in end of life care literally for years. It is often said, ‘things move in geologic time in prison’ which has felt like the case with our mission; but in the past 6 months, there is finally a groundswell of support and movement. Stay tuned for our website and logo which will be designed and guided by both ex incarcerated graduates and incarcerated in training students of the highly acclaimed The Last Mile program. This program was recently visited and praised by Senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to determine the program’s national viability.
Aside from the many brilliant helping hands we’ve been given, we are mainly a hearty trio of Sandra Fish, Ladybird Rolling Morgan, Marvin Mutch. Brief Bios Below
Program Associate - Marvin Mutch
Marvin is our liaison with prison officials, spokesperson, general hero of all trades. Marvin’s bio is an extraordinary one. He was released from San Quentin, February 17, 2016. During his incarceration, Marvin was injured and sent to California Medical Facility for treatment, while there he participated in California’s only hospice program. Marvin sat vigil with no less than ten of his dying brothers while there. The number of programs and advocacy work Marvin created and completed while incarcerated are too numerous to mention here. But one must be mentioned. The marvelous serendipitous nature of our being introduced to Marvin, includes the fact, he was one of the main founders of the San Quentin Brothers Keepers. Marvin was released via the Innocence Project—after being incarcerated for forty-one years.
Co-Founder and Program Director - Ladybird Rolling Morgan, RN, MSW
Co-Founder/Executive Director - Sandra Fish
Sandra is an actor, writer, caregiver, with decades of passion for prison reform and EOL issues. She taught in Riker’s Island Prison, worked as an employment specialist for newly released inmates in Manhattan, attended ex-inmate support groups, sat in on parole hearings, and visited SingSing to observe classrooms there. While working with older newly released inmates, she heard time and time again, “I’ll never go back, if I go back, I’ll die in prison, I don’t want to die in prison, I don’t want to die in prison”. Sandra cannot get that out of her head or heart and will not give up on the mission to make sure there is end of life care, with inmates giving the volunteer care in every prison. Currently Sandra is Co-Chair for San Francisco End of Life Network and has trained and worked as a hospice volunteer with added training in pediatric hospice and vigil.