“Life lessons from inside the walls; Caring for the men who will die in prison: AKA, Hospice care.” by Paul Stotts

I am a “school to prison pipeline” inmate. I was arrested fresh faced at 18 years old given a 31 year sentence. It has subsuquently been reduced a bit. I lived with my mom, dad, and sister. I tried moving out for a few months… into a house with five women (Latasha, Hope, Desaray, Dalazay, and Megan) I was the only man of the house, I could write a whole nother blog on that experence, but for now I want to focus on a different subject.
Yesterday, I found out I’ve been accepted into a very select program called hospice care volunteers at Lansing prison. Mental health came directly to my cell to give me this news. When two mental health staff unexpectedly come to the cell house to talk to you, things are usually not good. I put in the application alomst 6 months ago, so this was very unexpected. As you can imagine, when they came, I had a gut wrenching feeling in my stomic that something was wrong. When they went on to tell me that I was one one of three people that were approved for the program, I become overjoyed. Mental health went on to tell me they submitted about 60 names for this program and three of us made it through the security clearance. That clearance includes a background check through EAI, which is working KBI agents inside the prison facility.
The reason I mentioned my background growing up is because I have very little experence with death or dieing. Yes, I am in prison for an attempted murder charge, and I think the good Lord every day noone died in my case. I don’t know that I would know how to process that type of emotion.
I’ve lost two of my grandparents in the 11 years I’ve been in prison. They actually passed about 7 weeks apart from eachother. Those were some of the hardest times I’ve gone through. I was able to watch a video of each funeral, and that helped with closure a lot.
Even though I wasn’t able to be there for my grandparents in their dieing days, I am now stepping into a role where I’ll be like a seragate family member for someone dieing in prison. To say the least, I am scared of what I will feel. I’ve done a lot of growing in prison. I’ve overcome more guilt from an attempted murder conviction than most will ever experence, and I’ve come to a point in my life where it’s time to give back.
I just got this news about my acceptance yesterday. Today I turned in a schedule of days I’m available. The next step will be training that should begin soon.
I’ve been trying to get into this program for many years now but because of the selective nature and security risks of dealing with some of the most volunerable inmates in the system, it has taken a bit to get in. Now that I have this oportunity, I plan to give my heart to these gentelman. When I was sentenced originally to 31 years in prison at 18, I wondered “will I die in prison?” I believe the answer to this question, with 11 years in, is no. I will die at home with a family and overwealming support and love. For these men I’ll be working with, they will die in prison, and I plan to be that overwealming love and support.

Paul Stotts
DOC #93319

Categories: health, Paul Stotts

7 replies »

  1. This is such an important issue in prison. I’m praying for you right now that you will handle this role well and be strengthened in all you will face. It will be challenging, but they would not have selected you for this unless you were the right person. You sound like you have a compassionate and kind heart, and that is worth more than gold- especially to someone at the end of their life. God bless you and all who undertake this work.


  2. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” One of the most poignant lines from Les Miserables and, without moving into religion or offending anyone, giving love and care is noble. Best of luck in your training, and love yourself too.


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