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January 21st, 2009
12:31 PM ET

What the Audacity of Hope looks like from behind bars

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/20/oath.jpg]

Gary Fields
The Wall Street Journal

The horses were grazing, and the rifles were stored in their armory racks. The inmates who normally tend crops weren't working, so the officers who watch over them in the fields didn't need horses or guns.

Change, at least for a day, had come to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the state's maximum-security prison. On Tuesday, Warden Burl Cain gave the inmates the day off to watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. It was the first time in the prison's history that inmates were free to watch a president being sworn in.

"Most of the guys here face the reality that a president can't change things overnight," says Jerry Ward, 43 years old and 19 years into a life sentence for second-degree murder, convicted of shooting a man during a domestic dispute. At the same time, he says, "life here is what you make it and there are rewards for acting like men should, even here."

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Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (One Response)
  1. JC- Los Angeles

    Dignifying convicted felons with an article is beyond the pale; as so many law abiding, tax paying citizens pay the price for failed leadership, it's the height of hypocrisy to dignify the felonious with an article.

    January 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |