The California Medical Facility, a high-security prison in Vacaville, houses roughly 3,000 criminals: some in good health, some ill, some dying. The hospice is the oldest inside a California prison and one of the nation’s first. Two men formed a bond there: Freddy Garcia, serving a nine-year sentence for armed robbery and suffering from terminal colon cancer, had twice petitioned the state for a compassionate release and been turned down. Finally he was allowed to go home to die. Caring for him before his release was fellow inmate John Paul Madrona, one of Chaplain Keith Knauf’s Pastoral Care Workers, serving a life term for murder. Tending to my “little brother,” as Madrona called Garcia, helped him confront the terrible deed from his own past.

Read Kurt Streeter’s two-part series, “Care and atonement.”

View original post