The late Rev. William Barnwell would have been elated to hear about the reforms for death row inmates at Angola penitentiary. Barnwell worked for many years at Angola as a teacher and Christian minister. He even wrote a book about the Kairos Christian ministry at Angola. But a few years ago, Barnwell was banned from all Louisiana prisons. Why? Because he wrote a letter to your newspaper complaining about the inhumane treatment of death row inmates, particularly the long periods of solitary confinement.

Barnwell has now been vindicated.

The banning of William Barnwell is typical of the way the Louisiana Department of Corrections operates. Your reporter, Lea Skene, has written previously about some of these deficiencies, particularly about the problems at Elayn Hunt Prison, and I am sure there will be more stories forthcoming. Gov. John Bel Edwards and other leaders would be wise to accelerate reforms immediately.


retired Episcopal deacon