The Walls - 1835 First state penitentiary, commonly called “The Walls,” opens in downtown Baton Rouge on the site of the present federal courthouse
McHatton-Pratt & Co. - 1844 Failing to be self-sufficient, the state enters into contract to lease its prisoners to McHatton-Pratt & Co. Louisiana leased its prisoners for 56 years.
Women Prisoners - 1860 Contrary to popular beliefs, Louisiana incarcerated women before the Civil War, a majority of whom were slaves.
Occupation - 1862 During Civil War “The Walls” was occupied by the 1st Wisconsin Artillery Battery.
Return to Baton Rouge - 1866 Prisoners sent to New Orleans during the Civil War return to “The Walls” in Baton Rouge.
Samuel L. James - 1869 Samuel L. James acquires lease for Louisiana prisoners, subleases convicts to build levees & railroads.
The Purchase - 1880 James purchases 8,000-Acre Angola plantation in West Feliciana Parish, moves most prisoners to Angola & outlying work camps.
Shoes & Clothes - 1890 Remaining male prisoners at “The Walls” make shoes & clothes for all state convicts.
Samuel L. James Jr. - 1894 Samuel L. James dies at Angola, lease reverts to his son, S.L. James Jr.
Constitutional Amendment - 1898 Constitutional amendment bars convict leasing with expiration of James Lease.
State Purchase - 1900 State agrees to purchase Angola plantation for penitentiary; “The Walls” used primarily as a receiving center.
Resuming Control - 1901 On January first, Louisiana resumes control of its prison system after 56 years of leasing.
The Farm - 1910 “The Farm” improves conditions for prisoners, turns a profit during first decade understate control.
Henry L. Fuqua - 1917 Angola General Manager Henry L. Fuqua establishes convict guard system; “The Walls” in Baton Rouge is closed.
Flooding - 1922 Major flood inundates prison; most buildings and crops destroyed; Angola doubles in size with purchase of 10,000 adjacent acres.
The First Escape - 1934 After a mass escape led by notorious convict Charlie Frazier, Angola built its first cellblock, the Red Hat.
Hell on Angola - 1943 Hell On Angola” series, by former Angola Argus editor William Sadler, published in the New Orleans Item; spurs Justice Department review.
Heel Stringing - 1951 Eight inmates cut their achilles’ tendon in “Heel Stringing” incident, a protest of prison conditions that launched massive reform.
Female Prisoners - 1961 Female prisoners, at Angola since 1901, moved from prison to new quarters at St. Gabriel, Louisiana.
Lawsuit - 1976 Consent decree stemming from a 1973 lawsuit is entered into between corrections and Justice Department; Angola comes under federal court supervision.
American Correctional Association - 1993 Louisiana State Penitentiary is accredited by the American Correctional Association, a precondition to ending consent decree.
Burl Cain - 1995-Present Burl Cain becomes warden, begins massive expansion of education and moral rehabilitation programming; violence inside the prison dramatically reduced.