From disorderly conduct to becoming orderlies in a hospice care program, the Maine State Prison system has enlisted a small group of inmates to provide end-of-life care for senior inmates on their way out.

According to a the creator of the inmate hospice program, it took nearly 13 years to talk prison officials into testing such a controversial undertaking. "If we don't give these men and women a chance, who are incarcerated, to develop their potential and become who they really are inside, we will never know if this kind of a program will work," said Kandyce Powell.

However, none of the 12 inmates involved, including convicted murderers, receive any compensation for their effort and they do not get time taken off their sentences.

In addition to providing end-of-life care for dying inmates, they also care for inmates suffering from chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease. Officials from the Department of Corrections say the program is useful since nearly 20 percent of the prison population in Maine is over the age of 50.