OREGON – Filmmaker Edgar Barens is bringing his Academy nominated film, “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” to Oregon for a free viewing on Oct. 10.
This short documentary will be shown at the Farm Bureau Building in Oregon at 6:30 p.m. Serenity Hospice is hosting the viewing, which will include a short discussion and question/answer session after the film.
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” draws from footage shot over a six-month period behind the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary and provides a fascinating and often poignant account of how the hospice experience can profoundly touch even the forsaken lives of the incarcerated. The film goes behind the walls of one of America’s oldest maximum security prisons to tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill prisoner, Jack Hall and the hospice volunteers, they themselves prisoners, who care for him.
Barens, the filmmaker, was granted unprecedented access to the prison and the prisoner during the filming of the documentary. Since Hall was dying, Barens needed 24/7 access to him which he was given. In preparation for the filming, Barens attended a 14-week volunteer training program at his local hospice, which provided him with the knowledge to fully understand the needs of the terminally ill, and the duties of a hospice volunteer. On the whole, it has been noted that prisoner volunteers are deeply invested in their hospice patients – often exceeding the expectations of prison administrators. The rehabilitative nature of prison hospices cannot be overlooked. The program has allowed prisoners, many for the first time in their lives, to show compassion, love and respect for another human being.
“I 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 lessen the impact and instill much needed dignity to dying in prison for all concerned,” wrote Barens in his director’s statement.
The host of this free viewing of Barens’ academy nominated film is Serenity Hospice whose bereavement coordinator, Cathy Warren, helps train prisoner volunteers at the Dixon Correctional Center. The film is 40 minutes long and will be followed by a discussion session with Barens. The location of the viewing is the Farm Bureau building in Oregon, located at 421 W. Pines Road. There is plenty of parking and please enter the building through the back door.