Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Compassion misplaced

Gotta love NY Times and its readers. Here is a letter that begs for criticism:
To the Editor:

Re “Fellow Inmates Ease Pain of Dying in Jail, and Glimpse New Life” (“Months to Live” series, front page, Oct. 18):

As a former prisoners’ rights lawyer now working in the end-of-life field, I find it commendable that some prisons are providing hospice services to dying inmates, using inmate volunteers. Clearly, both benefit, and such programs should be expanded, as hospice generally ensures that the dying receive the best end-of-life care.

But too many inmates are now dying in prisons when they could be safely released to die at home with hospice care and the support and comfort of loved ones. Procedures should be established or expanded for compassionate release to make this happen.

David C. Leven
Executive Director
Compassion and Choices
of New York
New York, Oct. 19, 2009
I wonder how much compassion some of the prisoners showed to their victims in their end-of-life "care". People are generally put in prison because they did something very bad. They are being punished for their crimes and removed from society in order to keep us safe. I get the feeling that Mr. Leven feels that punishment in and of itself, i.e. dying in prison, is cruel.


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