Posts Tagged ‘Angola Prison’
Oscar winning actor William Hurt spent a night at Angola Prison in Louisiana to prepare for his role as an ex-convict in the upcoming film The Yellow Handkerchief. According to Hurt, experiencing prison life for himself was crucial to being able to embody his character and tell the story well. Read more here.
Ethnomusicologist, Alan Lomax, began field recording of folk music when he was just a teenager alongside his father, John Lomax, a pioneer in the field. When he was 18, on a visit to the Angola Prison, Lomax and his father discovered the music of a prisoner named Huddie William Ledbetter, better know as Lead Belly. The hundreds of Lead Belly’s songs they recorded were just a blip in their eventual collection of tens of thousands of field recordings for the Library of Congress.
Volumes I & II are available to purchase through Rounder Records HERE.
Several tracks have been uploaded as videos that can be found HERE.
What would it be like for you to oversee an execution?
It would be challenging on a number of levels. This is difficult to answer.
I’ve had a great teacher in Warden Cain. He is professional and
compassionate. I’d like think I’d be that way. Its a strange process and
event. Staff are pulled in so many directions and we have so many people to
consider and assist during this time. I’d talk a lot to those around me.
I’d make it as transparent as possible and I’d remain as calm and helpful
as I could be. I don’t think I’d approach them all the same – outside of
course the official, legal requirements.
Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola Prison, is offering its inmates the opportunity to obtain Bachelor of Arts degrees from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Warden Burl Cain worked to institute the program when Angola was still known as “America’s bloodiest prison.” This program is among others at Angola geared toward restoring hope among prisoners.
Read more here.
Warden Burl Cain of Angola Prison addressed budgetary concerns to a room of legislators today. Cain says that he has reduced costs by double bunking beds and replacing guards with cameras, but some of these changes are unsustainable. He says there are roughly 200 inmates that he feels should be released.
Read more here.
When my father was granted parole….. Hallelujah!!!!! was all I could say. It was like the road that never was supposed to end, but finally there was an end and a new beginning for us all. With a green light that said just go. The best feeling ever!
Our relationship has grown stronger. We have really gotten a chance to get to know each other as who we are completely. Everyday is still a growing moment.
I am very proud of my father for the work that he does in the community. He changes peoples lives and inspires them.
Doing the motivational speeches with my father were very uplifting. I would love to see the effect that it had on the people we were speaking to. The questions that were asked. I enjoyed the fact of how we would change at least one person’s thought process.
I mostly tell others to stay focused on their goals.Do their best and be the best at all times. Never be a follower, always a leader. There will always be others to follow you even when you do not want them to. Whether it is a family member, friend, or just someone that is impressed by your style of being who you are. Show people what you are made of, not where you came from.
What are the next steps you see for corrections in America?
How to stop the growing numbers of those incarcerated without the chance of release. We have almost 3 million in prisons and jails and we live in “the land of the free?” We cannot afford to keep this up. We need to repair communities – especially health care and education opportunities and build less jails and prisons. I propose that prison officials work with communities and victims to assist in re-entry efforts. I’m proud of the efforts being made by my superiors in Louisiana on re-entry. We are heading in the right direction! Of course we should know this business as we lock up more people per capita than any other state!!
After leaving prison I didn’t have any problems socializing, because I am a people person. I don’t meet strangers and can function well in most given situations involving people. I had a solid team of eight to ten people who had agreed to be my transition team and help me during my adjustment. All of them had agreed to be a “phone call away,” and promised to help me with any challenges I that i was facing.
I immediately became involved in the activities and events that were close to my heart. I hosted a radio talk show, was a co-host for a tv talk show, assisted in developing town hall and community meetings, worked with organizations that were focused on helping people who had been incarcerated for long periods of time. I became involved in ministries and men’s groups (all of which helped me to develop a personal foundation in society), and a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. As a motivational speaker I travelled the country, but i also became a board member of organizations like the Innocence Project of New Orleans, La. Coalition for Reform, the Freedom Project, the Teen Summit, the Prison Foundation, am a Senior Justice Fellow with the Soros Foundation, etc., etc. All of these things helped me in my transition. I lived an active life as a leader in prison and I knew that is what I needed to do in society.
There was, however, something that was a challenge for me. I noticed, when I was first released from prison, that I began to have feelings of apprehension when the sun would begin to set. There was a part of me that really didn’t want to be out after dark because I didn’t want to be anywhere where someone might falsely accuse me of anything. Those feelings remained with me for several months, but when I began to travel they begin to diminish.
In the midst of all of my activities stood my transition team of men and women who vowed to help me during my transition. They were true to their word, and were always merely a “phone call away.”
My last day in prison was filled with mixed feelings. There was a part of me that was excited, happy and looked forward to the adventure of being free. There was another part of me that felt like I was leaving many parts of my heart behind. I was leaving men who had become family. We had grown up together and survived many challenges over the years. We were survivors who had conquered our little world and become leaders within our society. We had built a lot of life enriching programs and ministries that helped the institution over the years and i was leaving those friends behind.
What are your thoughts about morality and religion as tools for corrections…
They work. I believe that what works depends on the pulse and needs of the people who spent their lives in any environment or community. A good warden is like a good mayor, coach, leader – he/she listens to the those who follow and finds places to use them according to their talents. I think that diversity works – offering something for everyone in a safe and secure way even in restrictive environments causes unbelievable creativity. Morality is important because everyone needs to feel good about themselves and their actions. When release into society stops being an option many find comfort in the ultimate release is upon death and most people in our neck of the woods find that hope in religion and morality. Redemption and forgiveness also are strong themes here and among those who have committed violent crimes like murder and rape.