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NOLA Life Stories: How Effective Are Angola's Reformation Methods?

The Louisiana State Penitentiary has more than 6,000 prisoners on 18,000 acres.

Prisons are built on the supposition that time, discipline and routine transform inmates into new people. Nelson Davis has lived with this idea since 1980, when he arrived at the Louisiana State Penitentiary to fulfill a life sentence.

His days are spent between the prison’s kitchens and self-help programs, which structure his reformation. But how effective are these methods? Davis reflects on his time away from society with oral historian Mark Cave.  

Davis earns 14 cents an hour to work as a cook at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. This interview was conducted by Mark Cave for The Historic New Orleans Collection and produced for WWNO by Thomas Walsh. 

Thomas Walsh is an independent radio producer and audio engineer who lives in New Orleans. You'll see him around town recording music, podcasts, short films, live events and radio features. He's practically glued to his headphones. A movie geek to his core, he's seen every film listed on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Movies and would love to talk to you about them.