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Managing Angola's Long-Term Inmates

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 63 Issue: 5 Dated: August 2001 Pages: 119-123
Burl Cain; Cathy Fontenot
Date Published
August 2001
5 pages
This article discusses the challenges of managing a maximum security prison whose inmates will most likely never leave.
The maximum security adults in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola either are serving life sentences (63.1 percent) or sentences of more than 20 years (27.6 percent). The average sentence length is 53.9 years. Ensuring the stability and productivity of the prison can be a challenge. Basic elements for operating such a facility include good food, good medicine, good playing, and good praying. In addition, it is important to provide meaningful work and educational opportunities to inmates and to allow them to positively and creatively express themselves. Angola has an inmate Bible college that offers a 4-year degree from an accredited college. The prison also has a hospice program that exactly replicates hospices in the community. Inmates constructed a state-of-the-art all-purpose arena that seats 8,000 people. It hosts the annual Angola Prison Rodeo, the annual Arts and Crafts Festival, religious events, and musical concerts. The article concludes that "the importance of positive, productive programs that keep inmates hopeful, cooperative and, most of all, nonviolent cannot be overstated."