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Angola’s Lifers Stage Three-Hour ‘Life of Christ’

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is fairly unique among American prisons. For starters, it’s bigger than Manhattan, and functions both as a prison and as sort of a work camp. It has a lake and trees, and the perimeter isn’t fenced, although the barracks are, which means that, at least in pictures, sizable parts of it look like a state park or something equally leafy and inviting. And, for much of its history, it was notorious as one of the worst prisons in America (this was, of course, before we started building those Supermax places). Generally speaking, if you wind up at Angola, you should probably settle in; the average sentence is 93 years. It’s also the sort of prison that gets up to things like, say a prison rodeo that’s open to the public, or, last weekend, a three-day run of a three-and-a-half hour play called The Life of Jesus Christ, performed by inmates for inmates – and relatives, some church groups, and some individual ticket buyers, too. (FULL ARTICLE: Campbell Robertson, The New York Times)