Walter West

Angola Bound: The Louisiana State Penitentiary, by Walter West

Once held the “Bloodiest Prison” in the world, Angola is Louisiana’s only maximun security prison. It rests on 18,000 acres, has several smaller prisons on its gounds, and sits in a peninsula.
Angola is legend, a plae of death, and the one place an 18 yr old male, who weights 156lbs, with no hair on his face wants to go.
When prison officials at Hunt Correctional Center (the states diagnostic center) told me I was going to Angola, I was in disbelief. I remember asking why I was going to Angola instead of a correctional center. I got no reply.
The morning of the transfer, and prisoners who are to be transferred are awaken at around 4 am. The phones are off, so you can’t call anyone. Plus you are in a cell anyway.
I can’t remember what they served for breakfast, but it was Monday, June 26, 2000, a hot month. At around 8am, our property was placed in a laundry sack with our name & number wrote on them. We all had to line up in a spot reserved for our particular destination. Destination Angola had the shortest line with about 8 of us.
A blue bus with the words ‘La. State Prison- Angola’ stenciled on the side showed up around oon. Everyone was then shackled from head to toe.
We boarded the bus and spread out from each other. I had never seen this part of the state before so I watched the unfolding scenery from behind the barred window. Somewhere along the trip, I fell asleep. I was so nervous (and scared) about going to Angola-you probrably heard the stories: knife fights, prison rapes, drugs, and more violence- that I could not sleep at all that night.
When I woke up we were on LSP property at a place called RC (Reception Center). There we went thru numberous procedures: haircuts, shaves, questions, LSP id cards; all while the board determined where we’d be housed.
I made 18, a little over a month before and I looked very young. The board sent me to TU(transition unit) to a one man cell, on a tier for young people and those who sought protection.
The library would send boods once a week. I remember reading 2 or 3 books a week, plus I’d learn 5 to 10 words from the dictionary every week.
You could go outside if the weather permitted it. There was a one man cage (10 x 30) we were placed in. At that time, they removed your wrist/arm restraints but the ankle/leg restraints stayed on. Trust me, it makes running very difficult, but not impossible. I saw some of the guys who’d been in cells for 10, 20 or more yrs run the whole hour like that. After 1 lap, that was it for me. It hurt.
Shower time started around noon. We’d get one hour (by yourself) on the hall (shower time included). Guys would run up and down the tier or walk, do push-ups, dips on the dip bar, pull ups on the shower entrance, and run errands for those still in the cell.
I did this for 6 months til I was released into general population. I was transferred to Camp C Wolf Unit, dorm 4, right before x-mas.

If you have any questions about Angola, La. state prison, prison life in general, or anything else, feel free to contact me by email thru: JPay.com Walter West #426915 (state: louisiana)
by snail mail at:

Walter West #426915
Raymond Laborde CC/C3-C1
1630 Prison Road
Angola, La 71327

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