Oklahoma Senate Bill 686: Hospice Care Work Program

Senate Bill 686, Authored by Senator McCourtney

Overview and Purpose

End of life care is something many people need in order to die with dignity - including Oklahomans who are incarcerated. The Department of Corrections already has a work program that allows eligible incarcerated people to care for other incarcerated persons who need end-of-life care. This is a valuable program that gives important work experience, however, these individuals currently have no path to job certification before or upon their release.

A New Program 

A new law seeks to empower the State Department of Health, the Department of Corrections, and the State Department of Careers and Technology to operate a certified nurse’s aid program that will pre-qualify applicants to receive required job training in end of life care while incarcerated. This training would apply towards occupational certification pre or post-release.

The building blocks for this program already exist, but there is no statute which enables the pre-certification process. A new statute will give the above agencies the framework they need to allow for the pre-qualification of applicants, job training, and the certification process.

This program seeks to build on the success of other carceral work programs which help remove barriers to job certification, ease reentry stress, and ultimately can reduce recidivism rates for those transitioning to the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do inmates provide end-of-life care to each other now?

Yes. This work assignment is already available for qualifying inmates inside Oklahoma prisons.

Will this put hospice patients in danger of being abused?

No. These inmates who will be released and qualify for the Nurse Aide certification will not be able to have any of the barrier offenses, and will be treated like any other applicant to the certification program currently.