Louisiana Prisoners Build Public Golf Course

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Golfers who step onto the new nine-hole course in Angola, La., see green felt fairways of Bermuda grass that were graded and seeded by hand, says the New York Times. The sand pits were dug by workers using shovels, not heavy equipment. The first tee provides a survey of all 18,000 acres of the maximum-security prison here. Prisoners built the course, which is on Louisiana State Penitentiary property and open to the public. Though they cannot play, a few inmates have earned the privilege of tending the greens for 20 cents an hour.

The course, called Prison View, was conceived by the warden, Burl Cain, a man who views incarceration with a sense of humor. Visitors to the prison can buy T-shirts that say “Angola: a Gated Community,” along with Guts and Glory hot sauce, named for the prison’s famous rodeo, at which inmates play chicken with angry bulls. At the golf course, the tees are marked with handcuffs. The inmates “think that’s cool,” Cain said. “They wear striped shirts in the rodeo. They like it.” One inmate differed: “What are they doing with handcuffs out here?” he asked. “Everybody knows it’s a prison. It really offended me when I first seen it. After that, I just passed by and mowed the grass, it don’t matter.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/15/national/15angola.html

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