Angola 3 News: Please tell us about your recent visit to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola this past month.
Nancy A. Heitzeg: I was at Angola with a university-level off-campus class I was teaching on Racism In The Criminal Justice System. Students and I were in New Orleans for a week where we met with Sister Helen Prejean and did some work for the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. I had been to Angola once before and both tours were comparable.
I should say that it is surprisingly simple to get a tour at Angola - just call the Museum, fill out a form and just turn up. No background checks, no IDs and no trips through metal detectors - which, of course, I have experienced at other prisons even when I was an invited speaker. You can and we did even drive our own vehicle through the grounds on the tour with a tour guide who rides along. Of course matters would be much different if one was at Angola to visit an inmate.
via www.truthout.orgCathie's Notes: This is the first in the series from Angola 3 News. I'll post the others as they are published. Dr. Heitzeg's commentary on what she and her students saw is worth the read. Angola has, in the past, been called "the bloodiest prison in America." Sounds to me like it has a long way to go to come within what's considered within the bounds of basic human rights.