“Grace Before Dying” at Gage Gallery | Exhibition review
A inmate-hospice program gives prisoners a second chance at dignity.
In “Grace Before Dying,” Lori Waselchuk’s camera follows inmate-hospice workers who help terminally ill prisoners die with dignity inside Louisiana’s State Penitentiary, where 80 percent of prisoners die behind bars. That number includes George Alexander, incarcerated in 1972 for possession of two bags of heroin. Using a panoramic format that emulates the nature of a prison, the photos insidefollow Alexander, a cancer victim, from hospice to memorial to respectful burial. It’s a story that warms the heart. So much so, if it weren’t for recent, well-publicized research proving the overwhelming advantages of inmate-hospice programs, Waselchuk’s tight edits might feel manipulative.