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Surviving the Last Plantation

Uploaded by Admin on Mar 26, 2000

Self-preservation, natures first great law, All the creatures, but man, doth awe. -Andrew Marvelle Love, family, and small thrills are but three things to live for. Sometimes they are the only things to live for. Sometimes they are what drive us to survive. For some of the inmates at Angola State Prison, there is little to live for and they still survive. Daniel Bergner once stated, "We live for whatever it is possible to live for…" (168). But what do the inmates of Angola live for? What brings meaning into their lives? Many of the inmates at Angola have been convicted of capital crimes. Many have no chance for parole. They still survive; they still find a reason to live. They find meaning in their lives. Before purpose and survival or redemption and salvation can be discussed, an idea of what Angola is must be produced. The warden of Angola is a large man by the name of Burl Cain. Some believe that he is the reason for Angola being what it is. Bergner believes different: The striking tranquility at Angola—confirmed by the ACLU’s National Prison Project and Louisiana’s own watchdogs—could not be credited to Warden Cain alone. Twenty-one years ago conditions had been so anarchic and murderous a federal judge had ruled that the prison "shocked the conscience" and breached the Eight Amendment’s guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. Reform had begun then. […] [Warden Cain] aimed not merely at warehousing inmates safely, but at rebuilding them, at redeeming them, whether in terms of his Southern Baptist belief or in religious terms more broad ("Love thy neighbor…") or simply in the sense of learning to live in some valuable way, without the impulses that lead to destroying others…. (24-25) Though Bergner only carries this thought through the beginning of his stay at Angola, it is till a viable description of the institution. With this rough idea of Angola in mind, the inmates of Angola can be discussed. Their reasons for living can be shared. Carey "Buckkey" Lasseigne was convicted to live imprisonment at Angola at the age of 22 (Bergner 220). "He was separated from his wife the month after the killing, and they have since divorced. But they had been back together since his first year at Angola" (Bergner 221). That is part of what kept Buckkey going; part of what gave him a reason to live inside Angola. His wife is only part of...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   03/26/2000

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   5 pages (1,135 words)

Views:   1463

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