Advocacy Officer for Human Rights and Palliative Care at IAHPC. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Theory from Columbia University and a Masters in Health Policy and Law from the University of California San Diego. Her Ph.D. dissertation appeared as a book, ‘Felony Disenfranchisement in America’, now in 2nd edition with SUNY Press. Katherine is our international contact and a wealth of information resources. Hospice in prison, like hospice for the homeless, represents the ultimate expression of palliative care for the most vulnerable and abandoned among us. Particularly beautiful are the programs that train prisoners to help one another through serious illness and dying, enabling people who may have given or received little love or care through their lives to finally experience and express compassion for their fellows. It will be valuable to both the current prisoners themselves, and to the larger society, if prisoners can receive training in hospice care so they have this skill upon their release, given the enormous workforce care deficit for the growing population of older persons throughout the world. Poland has a model program that trains prisoners for this work upon release.
BJ Miller MD:
BJ is a palliative care physician at UCSF. He is also an educator there and beyond. Noted as one of the top 15 TED TALKS of 2015. In 2017, Oprah Winfrey aired her interview with BJ for her Super Soul Sunday program and The New York Sunday Times published a profile on him. Simon Schuster will be publishing his upcoming book, co authored with Shoshana Berger, “How to Die: a field guide”. BJ was E.D. of Zen Hospice project from 2011 – 2016, and has been interested in our mission for years. “If we’re serious about rehabilitation – corrections – instead of pure punishment, then fostering compassion is elemental. It’s in the bedrock of humanity and must be found – put – wherever humans are. If Humane has its way, so does love, both for the one dying as the one caregiving, maybe for the first and last time in a life. Here is a program where everyone is better off for it, without exception, and I’m proud to be a small part of it.”
As a documentary filmmaker Edgar has had a notable record of successful production in very stressful prison environments. Edgar’s academy award nominated (2014) documentary- Prison Terminal- has been shown in over 60 prisons and over 80 colleges, universities, and other community centers. Edgar takes great satisfaction in his ability to tackle large-scale problems within the American criminal justice system and present them on a very personal level so that the destructive impact of a dysfunctional correctional system can be made more palpable to the viewer. He took on the mission to document one of the few positive programs that exists today behind bars in hopes that other facilities will emulate the prisoner-run hospice program and instill much needed dignity to dying in prison for all concerned. PrisonTerminal.com.
Currently at Law Offices of Michael Satris —-Private law firm emphasizing post-conviction remedies, prison law, and capital litigation. In 1976 Michael co-founded the highly regarded (and still operating) Prison Law Office – a non-profit corporation providing legal services to the prisoners at San Quentin. He was the director there until 1984. “I support the mission because it reinforces the humanity of the imprisoned individual, whether the caregiver or the one given care.”
Diane Mailey has more than twenty years of business development, fundraising and marketing experience on behalf of mission-driven organizations. Diane’s work with HUMANE is a natural progression of her commitment to transform our approach to end-of-life care for all. For over a decade she has worked with Zen Hospice Project where she provided leadership in strategic planning, program development, and fundraising. At Presidio Graduate School, Diane played a major role in the development of the largest and fastest growing graduate school dedicated to sustainable management. She has worked in social sectors from affordable housing to international development on both coasts and in communities located in Africa and Asia, including the Institute at the Golden Gate, BRIDGE Housing Corporation, World Learning, and the Global Security Institute. She holds a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University and studied Architecture at the Boston Architectural Center.
Venerable Professor Geshe Phelgye:
A former member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, founder of Universal Compassion Foundation and Buddhist Studies and Meditation Center in Spokane, is the Global Scholar and mentor at Eastern Washington University.
In 2006 on his US teaching tour, well before Ladybird met Marvin Mutch, Venerable Phelgye visited San Quentin, shared a healing meditation with prisoners and went on a tour led by Marvin. Marvin requested that he make a personal visit to a prisoner, who wanted to die instead of going to death row, which he did, and the prisoner passed away peacefully within the next 24 hours. As fate would have it, over a decade later, Marvin shared photos from this visit and Ladybird recognized Professor Phelgye as the very same cherished teacher leading a Buddhist Sangha supported by her family in Spokane.
Ladybird Morgan RN, MSW Co-Founder/ Program Director/ E.D.:
Death and Dying and Sexual Violence. Initially, as both a hospice nurse and sexual assault nurse examiner, she provided direct care to people dying and those surviving sexual assault. This transitioned first into training, managing and supervising teams of people caring for the dying and then for the last three years training, managing, and supervising teams of people providing support to survivors of sexual violence with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). As a facilitator and teacher, Ladybird has guided medical practitioners, families and private caregivers, as well as directors of programs and institutions around the world on how to be present to life stories that may be hard to hear or bear witness to.
Sandra Fish, Co-Founder:
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 prisoners in Manhattan, attended ex-prisoner support groups, sat in on parole hearings, and visited SingSing to observe classrooms there. While working with older newly released prisoners, 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 prisoners 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.
Marvin Mutch, Program Associate:
Marvin is our spokesperson, liaison with prison officials, and general hero of all trades. Marvin’s bio is an extraordinary one. He was released from prison February 17, 2016 after serving 41 years on a wrongful conviction suffered in 1975. In 2018, Marvin was injured and sent to California Medical Facility for treatment, while there he became a fervent supporter of California’s only full-service prison hospice program. Marvin saw the program shepherd no less than ten of his dying brothers while there. The number of programs and advocacy work Marvin created while incarcerated are too numerous to mention here. You can find out much more in upcoming KQED documentary, The Trials of Marvin Mutch. Marvin was released through the combined efforts of USC’s Post Conviction Justice Project and The Golden Gate University Innocence Project.
Bob Stilger, NewStories:
Bob Stilger has served community all his life. After 25 years as the Executive Director of one of the early community development corporations in the Northwest, he realized he needed to learn with people in the global south – India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and Mexico – to learn more about how people work with what they have to build healthy and resilient communities. For the past seven years, much of his time has been devoted to Japan, helping people envision a new future after the devastating triple disasters of March 11, 2011. He started NewStories in 2000 out of a sense that our old stories about how to find meaning in our lives were no longer sufficient. We needed new stories. Humane Prison Hospice, is one such new story. On one level, it provides needed support for those who die in our prisons. That would be enough, in and of itself. But there’s a deeper story as well – a move to change prison culture to a relationship based culture. A bold undertaking. Most important things are.
Please follow this link to discover the many inspired projects they are involved with.