Burl Cain who runs the Louisanna State Prison (Angola Farm) is to be a guest speaker for the Winning Entrepreneurs business network at Prestonfiled House Hotel in Edinburgh.[ed: 8th June]
This prison models itself on a slave plantation.
Please read our letter of complaint. If you feel strongly, write, ring and if local please protest.
Please see this article; http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Man-who-reformed-notorious-A...
Here is a letter of complaint we have drafted in response.
Dear Ms. Roberts,
We are writing to express our dismay and disappointment that the Winning Entrepreneurs business network will host Burl Cain on 8 June to give a talk on his so-called achievements.
While Angola prison may now be less notorious, the prison can still be singled out for its cruelty and injustice, despite what your members may have witnessed during their limited recent visit.
Were you aware, for example, that Angola still models itself on a slave plantation? As recently as October 2008, the prestigious US broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR) ran a three-part series from the prison, in which they referred to a system whereby wardens and deputy wardens (known as ‘Freemen’) have what they call “House Boys” – primarily black inmates who cook for their families, wash their cars, and clean their homes. Furthermore, it has been reported, inmates toil on the prison’s extensive land, ‘bent over in the fields’, to harvest corn, soybeans and cotton, for pennies.
Burl Cain has also been instrumental in keeping men in solitary confinement for decades at the prison – a practice that is almost unspeakably inhumane and torturous. Indeed, the cases of some of the men have been highlighted by Amnesty International, who have described the treatment of inmates known as the ‘Angola 3’ as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.
Following extensive media coverage of the Angola 3 case in the past year – both in the US and UK – as well as intervention by the chair of the US house judiciary committee, John Conyers, in their specific case, Burl Cain and Angola prison have come under pressure, to the point that Mr. Cain recently moved one of the two remaining incarcerated members of the A3 (the third was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary confinement at Angola) to another Louisiana prison, where he remains in isolation – a prison on whose board Mr. Cain resides. The remaining member of the A3 is still in solitary in Angola – after nearly 40 years of isolation in a 6 x 9 ft concrete cell, for up to 24 hours a day – despite his conviction having been overturned last year by a federal court. While Mr. Cain may have little influence on the legal elements of their case, he is responsible for their treatment within the prison walls.
Several other stories have emerged from Angola that lay testimony to unjust treatment at the hands of its wardens. Another, Kenny Whitmore, speaks in the latest issue of Idler magazine about endemic abuse and mistreatment. Also in prolonged solitary confinement, Mr. Whitmore refers to inmates being routinely gassed till they pass out, at the whim of the guards, and food that amounts to powdered potatoes, old corn, and fresh fruit once a year at Christmas…This despite Angola lying on 18,000 acres of rich farmland, worked for a pittance by inmates.
To be aware of these men’s stories makes it impossible to comprehend a decision to host and celebrate a man like Mr. Cain. Louisiana State Penitentiary is not a model to be lauded in the UK – it reflects a brutal element of the US criminal justice system, operated for profit, and severely lacking in humanity. I hope you are not seeking the same model of ‘business’ and conduct here.