2013 Thielman Lecture Featured Speaker
Montreat College invites the community to two lectures by Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary on Monday, April 8 in Gaither Chapel on the college’s main campus. Warden Cain will present two lectures: “My Life in Prison” at 10 a.m. and “Does Christ Really Want to Set the Prisoner Free?” at 7 p.m. Both lectures are part of the annual Calvin Thielman Lecture Series and are free and open to the public.
Warden Burl Cain will share how Christian faith and commitment to “moral rehabilitation” influence his leadership of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, America’s largest and most notorious prison. Under his leadership, the Louisiana State Penitentiary has been transformed into a model prison in the United States, as Warden Cain has served God in the prison system, committing to making a difference in the otherwise dark and hopeless places of the criminal justice system.
Warden Burl Cain has served as the warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary for almost 20 years – the longest tenure in the history of penitentiary. He has been featured on ABC’s “20/20″ with Barbara Walters, “Stephen Fry Goes to America,” and “Louisiana Lockdown” on Animal Planet. His belief that moral people are not criminals has led to the development of his program of “moral rehabilitation.” Warden Cain has brought hope and redemption to one of the most despairing places in the country, where half of the inmates have been convicted for murder and nearly all have no chance for parole.
With 18,000 acres and over 5,000 offenders, the Louisiana State Penitentiary is the largest maximum security prison in the United States. Through numerous “prison enterprise” programs introduced by Warden Cain, inmates may work and gain skills through jobs such as manufacturing mattresses, managing 1,600 head of cattle, providing printing services, and constructing coffins. The coffin of Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of Rev. Billy Graham, was built by inmates of Angola.
Through educational programs provided in the prison by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Louisiana Technical College, inmates may earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry or learn trades from automotive technology to graphic communications. Angola is the home of “Incarceration Station,” the only FCC-licensed radio station operated by inmate disc jockeys. The prison also holds rodeos where inmates may earn a chance to compete at the Annual Inmate Rodeo.