Dying to Tell, Angola: Crime, Consequence, Conclusion at Louisiana State Penitentiary
by Anne Butler and C. Murray Henderson
In fascinating detail, Dying to Tell gives us an in-depth look at different kinds of criminal deaths:
…the absolutely senseless slaying of a young correctional officer under the guise of racial retribution in a tragic situation unthinkably manipulated for personal gain
… three deaths in the prison homosexual protection dormitory underscoring just how far lonely inmates will go in their search for a little human warmth and caring
… the electrocution of a careless young outlaw devoid of human feeling whose bracelet tattoo had a skull for every victim
…two questionable deaths blamed on a Vietnam combat vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as one of that war’s most distressing and long-lasting legacies
…and the death of a frail little inmate who absolutely died of despair because of an uncaring and unresponsive state administration.
All these deaths revolved around Louisiana’s infamous sprawling state penitentiary called Angola, and all of the victims had to die to make us listen to their stories.
And it is only by using these stories to lead us to a deeper understanding of crime and criminal offenders that we give meaning to these victims’ lives and ensure that their sacrifices not be in vain.
Anne Butler is the author of several other books and a frequent contributor of feature articles to newspapers and magazines across the country. A graduate of Sweet Briar College in Virginia, she has an MA in English from Humboldt State in California and has worked as a writer, photo-journalist, and editor since 1964 on the East Coast, West Coast, and in her home state of Louisiana.
C. Murray Henderson was warden of Angola in the late sixties when the Louisiana governor called him in to clean up what had become known as the bloodiest prison in the country; he had also been warden of the state penitentiary in his home state of Tennessee, in which he eventually served as Commissioner of Corrections. A distinguished career in corrections plus post-graduate work in psychiatric social work and a law degree give Henderson a perspective that differs from many corrections professionals.
Softcover, 181 pp., ©1992