The prison today touts it's reforms in the last twenty years. The museum is fairly open about the repuatation of the prison. The warden, Burl Cain, is something of a celebrity - his name is all over everything and there are big photos of him in rescue gear helping out in Katrina. They advertise their prison rodeo quite heavily and warden Cain is in a bunch of videos talking about a very spiritual approach to corrections. That and work on the plantation - his theory is that if you work the convicts hard all day they'll be too tired to fight.
Prison is in every way one of my darkest fears. I wonder where the line is that "normal" people fall across to end up there. How many bad decisions or how much bad luck separate me from that existence? Or is my skin color and income enough to protect me forever? I don't know, there's probably some Freudian issues at work here, but it is an imposing thought. It's important now and then to know that this world exists in America.