Angola for Life

Angola for Life

There are more than 6,000 men currently imprisoned at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola—three-quarters of them are there for life, and nearly 80 percent are African American. It’s the end of the line for many convicted criminals in Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate of any state in the U.S. In this Atlantic original documentary, national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg goes inside Angola to speak with inmates and with warden Burl Cain, who has managed the prison for two decades. Cain and his colleagues grapple with the crucial question: What does rehabilitation look like when you’re locked away for life?

Read Goldberg’s recent reflection on the filmmaking process ( as well as his in-depth report on crime in Louisiana, “A Matter of Black Lives,” from The Atlantic’s September issue (

Authors: Jeffrey Goldberg, Sam Price-Waldman, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

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  1. What about what they grow? What is the output? Where does it go? Is it for profit or rehabilitation and how do you motivate those who don't want to work to a deadline if it is a business? Is there a rotation or does it depend on length of sentence? Who is selected or who volunteers and why?

  2. I been to Angola in a 18 wheeler a few times delivering supplies. I’ve never seen anything like it!! It is literally a slave plantation. BUT…it works!! Every prison should be like Angola. Don’t want to be a slave on a plantation?? Don’t commit crimes!!!!! Angola produces its own food and goods to cut the burden on good people who pay taxes. Good for Louisiana!! Want to be a criminal you can work the fields for your food!

  3. What happens when you abandon your own continent and beg to be a soulless american.
    They were freed
    But prayed to a white god and begged to live with massa.

    It's a choice.

  4. Slavery by another name.But it seems blacks like being slaves.The oppressors have been given the legal rights to enslave partly by the behaviour of the black population.They seem unable to stop murdering usually each other.Black lives matters not to them.

  5. My mother told me to never hate but I hate parents that dont teach thier kids most of these men are the men they are because of this warden and his programs teaching them how to be men. Idk why it's cool to abandon your children or pawn them off on other people and then they grow up to and most likely will end in prison. If not they were lucky enough to be taught right.

  6. I see a lot of people hating on the warden here, while also not watching the second part of the video which had to do with faith.
    Let me clear up some misconceptions.
    Working there at the Angola prison has nothing to do with race. All races work on those fields, so bringing up slavery due to race is ignorant.
    The warden found that boredom and free time in the prison had led to violence among the inmates and resulted in high recidivism. He wanted to setup a way for inmates to have a future and work experience when they got out, and to reduce violence with the ones who were in there for good. He also wanted to install great faith within the inmates to ensure they would work hard to get right with themselves and still be a part of their family back home. Also remember, these prisoners still get paid some amount. Every since the warden came to Angola, violence had dropped significantly, recidivism had dropped by 20%, and prisoners were overall more happy to have faith in their lives. If you want more information, watch a video made by America Uncovered about this prison. Thank you.

  7. He said they have a job if they like it or not….not true they do not have to work…the car tec guy that is teaching can stop at anytime…now his privileges may be taken and he can be treated like 99% of all prisoners in other areas or work another job, but right now he likes the deal he has…
    ..these guys do not want people messing with the deal they have…they get to do work, rodeo, radio station in the prison, they have they own tv station.. many many guys do not want these things gone..the want the rodeo and the wanna sell the arts they make…the farm is one of those places outsiders and do gooders do not understand these things are wanted..
    I do think Louisiana needs to take a hard look at some of these guys and consider for parole…

  8. Grateful for the way that the Lord is moving in this prison. It is evident that He is their hope and rest. It is beautiful to see the grace and the change in these men’s hearts. Thankful for this.

  9. This interviewer is so naive. These hardcore admitted murderers, got a huge farm to work on, then went to god, and turned their mind set around.
    You can't figure this out? What do you think the prison should get back to massive rape and death, instead, just to prove god right, and you wrong?
    Some prisons are just a block with a small yard, no garden. These are the luckiest prison inmates on earth.
    It's supposed to be called a rehabilitation center. This guy is nailing it.
    Now with Trumps new good behavior policy, some of these guys might get more time with their families.

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