The 'Red Hat' cellblock is a reminder of, and vestige from, the past. The most restrictive inmate housing unit, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and named so for the red-painted hats that its occupants wore when working out in the fields. In 1933, Charlie Frazier, who ran with Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde, escaped one of Red Hat's 30 cells. When caught, his cell door was welded shut, and remained that way until his death seven years later. Just before the rodeo began, we asked Warden Cain about dealing with the dark legacy of Angola. "Angola is a prison with a rough past," he said. "We understand that, and we are doing things differently now. I didn't put all these lifers here, I'm just the doorkeeper. My job is to keep them busy with work and education programs, and encourage some kind of faith. This rodeo gives the inmates some hope as well as raising much needed funds for those programs."
FROM THE FEATURE
Giles Clarke: Angola Prison Rodeo at the “Alcatraz of the South”