Burl Cain

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Nathan Burl Cain
Warden Burl Cain St Francisville.jpg
Warden Burl Cain from Blake Nelson Boyd's "Louisiana Cereal"
Born Nathan Burl Cain
1942
Residence Jackson, East Feliciana Parish
Louisiana
Nationality American
Alma mater

Louisiana State University

Grambling State University
Known for Warden of Angola Prison in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
Political party
Republican
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Jonalyn Miceli Cain
Relatives James David Cain
Louisiana State Penitentiary, the prison which Cain manages

Nathan Burl Cain (born July 1942)[1] has been since January 1995 the Warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, located at Angola in West Feliciana Parish. He was named warden by Richard Stalder, then the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Biography[edit]

Cain was reared in Pitkin in Vernon Parish in western Louisiana. He is the brother of James David Cain, a Republican former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Louisiana State Senate,[2] and Alton Cain.[citation needed] Warden Cain holds a degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Grambling State University in Lincoln Parish.[3]

He began his career with the Louisiana branch of the American Farm Bureau Federation and subsequently became the assistant secretary of agribusiness for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In 1981, he became the warden of the Dixon Correctional Institute. After fourteen years there, he was elevated to warden of the state penitentiary.[2] After accepting the job at Angola, he continued to live on the grounds of Dixon.[4] Until 2011, Cain served as the vice chairperson of the Louisiana Civil Service Commission.[2]

Tenure at Angola[edit]

LSP is the largest prison in the United States; many of the inmates will never be released. He is a religious man and believes the only way to give his inmates hope is in the form of eternal life, and to this end encourages a spiritual atmosphere in the prison.[5]

He is the longest-standing warden in the history of LSP. Under his leadership, the inmate population of 5,000 has seen a decrease in violent incidents. The changes which he brought about at the prison are detailed in the 2005 book Cain's Redemption: A Story of Hope and Transformation in America's Bloodiest Prison by Dennis Shere.[6]

In 1991, Cain was one of the organizers of Louisiana Wardens and Superintendents (LAWS), a group which pursued the appointment of Richard Stalder of Zachary as the corrections secretary, a post which Stalder filled from 1992 to 2008,[7] when he was succeeded by a former understudy, James Myles "Jimmy" LeBlanc.

In 2010, Cain was one of the speakers in Calvin College's January series.[8] In 2008, he became the longest-serving warden in the history of Angola.[9]

Cain promotes a Christian-based message and his belief that religion can turn the lives of inmates. In August 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit accusing Warden Cain and the Louisiana state prison system of hindering a Mormon inmate's access to religious texts.[10] Cain supports continuing to hold the Angola 3 in solitary confinement because the trio ascribes to "Black Pantherism."[11]

Personal life[edit]

A biography of Burl Cain states "to escape the pressures of running the nation's largest adult male maximum security prison, Cain enjoys hunting and traveling around the country on his motorcycle."[2]

Cain, a Republican,[1] is a 2002 inductee of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. The next year, 2003, Richard Stalder was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In film[edit]

Year Title Portrayal Notes
2011 Serving Life Himself The film documents LSP's hospice care of inmates.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Click Nathan Cain, July 1942". voterportal.sos.la.gov. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ridgeway, James. "God's Own Warden." Mother Jones. July/August 2011 Issue. p. 1. Retrieved on March 23, 2013.
  3. ^ Annual Report (PDF) 2006. (Archive) Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. p. 3. Retrieved on March 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "Auditor says state paying too much by letting Angola warden live at DCI." The Advocate. February 7, 1997. Retrieved on February 3, 2011. "The state legislative auditor is questioning corrections officials for allowing two prison wardens to live off their prison grounds at extra cost to the state. But a top corrections official said the arrangement is fine. Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola continues to live in the same house on the grounds of Dixon Correctional Institute where he lived while in his previous job as DCI warden."
  5. ^ Burl Cain on Charlie Rose
  6. ^ Dennis Shere, Cain's Redemption: A Story of Hope and Transformation in America's Bloodiest Prison. Northfield Publishing Company. 2005. ISBN 978-1-881273-24-0. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ Cain Redemption, p. 44
  8. ^ "Inner Compass NATIONAL SEASON 3." Calvin College. Retrieved on August 29, 2010.
  9. ^ Churcher, Kalen Mary Ann. Self-governance, Normalcy and Control: Inmate-produced Media at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Pennsylvania State University. ProQuest, 2008. p. 74. ISBN 0549921737, 9780549921738
  10. ^ The New York Times. April 12, 2006. Spinning Hope on Incarceration Station. Retrieved on August 25, 2010.
  11. ^ Ridgeway, James (21 March 2013). "Louisiana Attorney General Says Angola 3 'Have Never Been Held in Solitary Confinement'". Solitary Watch. Retrieved 28 August 2013. "In a 2008 deposition, attorneys for Woodfox asked Cain, 'Let’s just for the sake of argument assume, if you can, that he is not guilty of the murder of Brent Miller.' Cain responded, 'Okay, I would still keep him in CCR…I still know that he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates. I would have me all kind of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them.'"

External links[edit]