Louisiana Incarcerated

A multi-part series exploring Louisiana’s role as “the world’s prison capital.”

  1. Arresting Development: How Texas was able to close a prison.

  2. Behind Bars: How Louisiana’s incarceration rate became the highest in the world.

  3. A Trade in Prisoners: The link between rural economies and the prison system.

  4. An Economic Machine: How private business benefits from prisons.

  5. Throwing Away the Key: Who gets rehabilitated?

  6. Locked In: Why prison reform is so difficult.

  7. Unusual Punishment: How mandatory sentencing laws keep prisons full.

  8. No Way Out: Hundreds wait as pardons pile up on the Governor's desk.

  9. Hitting Home: The disproportionate impact of the prison system on certain neighborhoods.

  10. Rough Re-Entry: The difficult life back on the outside.

Dispatch From Angola: Faith-Based Slavery in a Louisiana Prison

A first-person account of Louisiana’s prison rodeo in which:

...thousands of visitors drive down this road toward an inmate-constructed, 10,000-seat arena to watch Louisiana’s most feared criminals compete in harrowing events like “convict poker” (four prisoners sit around a card table and are ambushed by a bull; last one seated wins); “guts and glory” (a poker chip is tied to the forehead of a bull and inmates try to grab it off); and the perennial crowd pleaser, “bull riding.” Prisoners can win prize money, but have no chance to practice before entering the ring.