Angola Penitentiary, Louisiana

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is one of the largest and most notorious maximum security prisons in the country. Nicknamed "the Farm," it is a working agricultural complex that utilizes cheap prisoner labor (wages range between 4 cents and 20 cents per hour) for traditional agriculture production and light industry. The penitentiary occupies 18,000 acres of the prime farm land that was once a 19th century plantation--the Angola Plantation--named after the area in Africa that supplied most of the plantation's slave labor. The site is home to some 5,000 inmates, over 80% of whom are serving life sentences and are expected to die on the penitentiary grounds and be buried in the prisoner's graveyard. Angola Penitentiary is also home to 1,800 employees who live in town, descried as the "safest in America," located in the middle of the penitentiary. The prison is considered one of the most accessible prisons in the country. It has its own radio station, newspaper, and acclaimed magazine --The Angolite--produced by prisoners. The penitentiary runs regular tours that include The Angola Prison museum with such exhibits as "Old Sparky," an electric chair last used in Angola in 1991. Angola also holds annual events for the public such as the Angola Prison Rodeo in the fall and the Arts and Crafts Festival in the spring.