Slavery Haunts America’s Plantation Prisons
On an expanse of 18,000 acres of farmland, 59 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, long rows of men, mostly African-American, till the fields under the hot Louisiana sun. The men pick cotton, wheat, soybeans and corn. They work for pennies, literally. Armed guards, mostly white, ride up and down the rows on horseback, keeping watch. At the end of a long workweek, a bad disciplinary report from a guard – whether true or false – could mean a weekend toiling in the fields. The farm is called Angola , after the homeland of the slaves who first worked its soil.
This scene is not a glimpse of plantation days long gone by. It’s the present-day reality of thousands of prisoners at the maximum security Louisiana State Penitentiary, otherwise known as Angola . The block of land on which the prison sits is a composite of several slave plantations, bought up in the decades following the Civil War. Acre-wise, it is the largest prison in the United States . Eighty percent of its prisoners are African-American.
Some states thrive on the fact of prison labor. Just because you commit a crime (and please remember there are so many who are INNOCENT behind the walls) you are still human. Until prison starts affecting the right people, it will be hard to change it.