Maine State Prison warden lauds hospice program, volunteers
Warren — Speaking Wednesday, Dec. 18, in the glossy white Maine State Prison Visitor's Room at the In Service to Others Maine State Prison Hospice Volunteer's Holiday Celebration, Warden Rodney Bouffard thanked and praised Maine Hospice Council's Kandyce Powell and the Hospice Volunteers for work that, he said, "changes lives."
Powell started the MSP Hospice Program in partnership with the Maine Department of Corrections almost 14 years ago. Powell trains prisoners as hospice workers to this day. Powell, in her welcoming remarks, thanked Warden Bouffard and the administration for allowing her to launch the hospice program.
But Bouffard, stepping up to the Visitor's Room podium mic Thursday said, "The real true thanks, really, is to Kandyce and the hospice volunteers for the work they've done."
The Warden explained to celebration attendees — family members of the volunteers, and end of life caregivers — that, "There's really only one infirmary for the inmates and it's right here at the prison. We provide services, essentially, for all the other [state] prisons and for the county facilities throughout the state," Bouffard said.
He continued, "Rest assured. If you have somebody in this facility or in one of the correctional facilities, who has a terminal illness, these gentlemen will spend time with that individual playing checkers, playing cards — whatever — so the person going through their final days can have some enjoyment. And when they really become sick there's somebody to show sympathy and even warm compassion," Bouffard said.
To illustrate the professionalism shown by MSP's Hospice Volunteers, the Warden told the audience, "We have an older gentleman really going through some difficult times now, nearing death. About two o'clock this morning the volunteers got called. 'We need some help to deal with this particular individual in the infirmary.'"
"There wasn't any second guessing. There wasn't any, 'Well, it's snowing out' or 'I'm tired. I'm going to roll over and go back to bed.' It was a commitment for those gentlemen to help the individual in need. Those are the kind of things that these individuals do," Bouffard said.
The Warden closed his remarks, saying, "These are the kind of things that, not only are you supporting somebody in their final days, but actually change lives of the people providing the service.
"From my perspective, we can learn a lot from Kandyce, we can learn a lot from this program. Some of the ideas around this are certainly something that we're going to use in the other aspects of the facility," Bouffard said.