Case Study: Angola

Angola was once called America’s bloodiest prison.

The largest maximum-security prison in the United States, Angola has 6,300 prisoners and 1,800 staff. It occupies 28 square miles in Louisiana, a site larger than the size of Manhattan.

Eighty-five percent of its prisoners died there, either due to life sentences or violent incidents within its walls. In 1993, new warden Burl Cain resolved to transform Angola into a model prison community by providing academically qualified prisoners with a Christ-centered college education.

Today, Angola Has Been Transformed

The prison has: 

  • An 80% reduction in violence 
  • Dozens of prison-led churches
  • Graduates sent to other prisons as missionaries
  • Hospice chaplains 
  • Suicide counselors
  • Counseling ministry 
  • Teaching assistants and many other graduate-led ministries

“I spent years before my incarceration destroying my life. The Hope-Western program is helping me rebuild it.” —Student, 2019

“College is helping me become a new man. I hope I have the chance to show others in society how I am changing. I thank God for the opportunity for this second chance.” – Student, 2019