This year in Louisiana almost 37,000 people became eligible to vote, thanks to a law that reinstated voting rights for formerly incarcerated people after they’ve served five years of parole. But only a small portion of those people have actually registered to vote in time to participate in the statewide election.
The road to Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, is long and isolated. It sets the plantation-turned-prison back from lush and hilly West Feliciana Parish, an otherwise picturesque corner of the state.
Massive criminal justice reforms passed by the Legislature two years ago have shed the state’s title as the incarceration capital of the nation. Sentencing changes, including increased access to probation and parole, are also saving the state millions of dollars.