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Pain management is a priority, and unlike the sterile anonymity of a hospital, hospice patients die at home or in a place that feels like home, surrounded by family.

Hospice care is meant to address not just the physical needs of the dying, but their mental and emotional needs as well.

So in addition to medical duties, the inmate volunteers serve as a stand-in family. They spend time talking with their patients, reading to them, and just being there for them.And if the patients need help, the volunteers feed, bathe, and take them to the bathroom.Inmate volunteers provide free labor and save the prisons money, but proponents of prison hospice say that its greatest benefits are social rather than economic.For the patients, hospice offers them the prospect of a more humane death by allowing them to spend their final days with round-the-clock care by peers.Jamey Boudreaux, executive director for the non-profit Louisiana and Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (LMHPCO), has been visiting Angola to observe the hospice program since its early days in the late ’90s.

He also recognized the cultural shift Cloyes cited.“They’ve actually transformed the culture,” she says.Cloyes speculates that the hospice program at Angola was a key factor in the dramatic decline in violence Angola has seen in the past three decades.Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends.It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.And, most importantly, both are inmates at Osborn Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison in northern Connecticut.