Crusaders Take Field Trip to Angola

angola 3jan14As part of our effort to raise awareness of life issues for the poor and marginalized, forty Brother Martin students and four faculty members took a tour of Angola State Penitentiary over the Christmas break. After arriving at the prison at 10:00 AM, a retired prison guard boarded Brother Martin’s #4 bus and collected all cell phones and cameras as these items are not allowed in the prison.

The tour included a talk by an inmate serving a life term for murder; a visit to the country’s only prisoner run radio station, KLSP; a drive past the rodeo grounds; a tour of the room where the state carries out executions by lethal injection; a walk through one of the barracks where 80 prisoners live in 40 bunk beds; lunch consisting of the same food that the prisoners ate that day (fried fish, mac & cheese, spinach, and a mysterious orange drink); a visit to the kennel where the wolf-dog hybrid guard dogs are bred and housed, and a stop at the prison museum.

After the students complete a reflection based on the experience, they will be credited 10 service hours for following Jesus’ counsel to visit the imprisoned (Matthew 25:39).

Some facts learned on the field trip:

  • At 18,000 acres, Angola is the largest prison in the U.S.
  • 85% of the prison grounds are surrounded by the Mississippi River
  • of the 6,300 inmates at Angola, 4,200 are serving true life sentences
  • 2,000 inmates are serving sentences for first time offences
  • the average age of the inmates is 42.