5 Interesting Facts Uncovered In MSNBC’s Documentaries On Angola Prison During Hurricane Katrina

These are 5 interesting facts uncovered in MSNBC's documentaries on Angola prison during Hurricane Katrina that shed light on just how horrific and inexcusable the conditions were for inmates.  Many of the victims of the catastrophe were being held for nothing more serious than failing to pay a fine.  Unable to escape the rising water and conditions resulting from the flood, many people died needlessly as a result of the negligence by the Louisiana prison system.

  1. When the hurricane hit there were no plans in place for an evacuation.  Prison officials were literally flying by the seat of their pants when Katrina hit despite the area being known to be at risk for this kind of emergency.
  2. Excessive force was used on the population after the storm.  In the days following the storm, inmates at Angola were forced into their cells by use of bean bag bullets, mace, and taser guns.  Witnesses say that the victims of the abuse were not asked to return to their cells first before they were attacked.
  3. As the water rose, deputies at Angola left to save themselves despite being professionally responsible for the lives of prisoners.  Prison guards left most of the people on their watch locked in overcrowded cells as the water continued to rise. 
  4. Despite the knowledge of food and water sources being extremely toxic, prison workers told the inmates to drink and eat without worry.  Some women inmates from Angola have reported that they were told to drink water out of trashcans that had visible fecal matter floating in them.
  5. Even though the atrocities are being brought to the forefront of national prison policy, the majority of individual victims of the crimes committed after Hurricane Katrina will not see justice.  The records of many prisoners were lost during the flood and some suggest that there will not even be positive identification on all those who perished inside Angola Prison.
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