The New Orleans Times-Picayune gives a glimpse of what life is like at Louisiana’s Angola prison through a story on corrections officer Trampus Butler, who has lived there his entire life. Twenty-five years ago, Butler's grandfather, Hilton Butler, was Angola's warden. His son, Trampus’s father, also worked there. He reared Butler on the prison grounds and remains today as an assistant warden. Butler's two brothers work there. So does his wife. And an aunt.
The biggest part of being a good corrections officer, he said, is knowing the difference between one kind of prisoner and another. At Angola, life means life. Most prisoners will die there. But in three decades at the prison, Butler has found that those inmates who have made peace with their fates make decent, even valuable companions. Some actually become friends who, over a lifetime – his and theirs – have taught him valuable lessons.