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Law students visit Angola State Penitentiary for up-close look at criminal justice system

On Feb. 10, 2017, Prof. Angela Allen-Bell and the students enrolled in her Law and Minorities and Legal Analysis and Writing classes took their lessons on the road by visiting the grounds of Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola).

During the visit the group toured the massive grounds, met with a seasoned member of the correctional staff, and talked with the inmate legal team for a candid discussion about legal writing, research and advocacy.  The attorneys shared their thoughts about what they would like to see future prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and legislators do better when it comes to matters of justice.

Through the visit students gained an understanding of the innerworkings of the prison administrative and classification processes. They also gained a visual appreciation of what a hard labor sentence encompasses and magnitude and scope of how many people are impacted by such sentences in the state of Louisiana.

“Visiting Angola helped me understand the struggles of the post-conviction relief process from an inmate’s perspective,” remarked Yasha Clark (2L). “It was a challenge seeing all the potential that Angola houses,” added Ariel Harris (2L).

Prof. Allen-Bell says she sees this annual, on-site learning activity “as a way of breathing life into SULC’s mission of training a cadre of lawyers equipped with the skills necessary for the practice of law and for positions of leadership in society.”  She also expressed her sincere appreciation to the Angola administration for the investment of its time and resources in our students.

Angela Allen-Bell is an associate professor  of legal analysis and writing at Southern University Law Center where she is the B.K. endowed professor of law. She was recently named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Her research focuses on civil rights, restorative justice, social justice, and the interplay between race and justice. She has the distinction of having been selected for membership in the National Black Lawyers Top 100, an invitation-only organization. In addition to being a frequent speaker in the community, as well as in the legal arena, Prof. Allen-Bell is often quoted by local, national, and international media. She has twice submitted written testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution and has served as an expert reviewer of solitary confinement teaching materials that are available through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Click here to view her research.

*SULC students Robin Will and Genevieve Steel attended, but are not depicted in the photograph.