Jonathan Ford

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A strange place Louisiana is a place the nation can learn from its ways

Louisiana often is near the bottom in good things (education) and near the top in bad things (incarceration). The latter has presented an opportunity for Louisiana to do something for the people it incarcerates — make them better people.

Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola for short because of its location in Angola, La.) is run by Warden Burl Cain and in his 20-plus years on the job, Cain has taken once the most violent prison in America to one with a much lower violent crime rate.

In the nation’s largest maximum-security prison, one remarkable warden has turned to religion to bring morality to the inmates.

The American penal system is largely broken. I have had the opportunity to know and work with someone who was convicted of attempted murder and served time in the Louisiana penal system but not at Angola. When I asked him if he felt like he was rehabilitated by the system, he laughed. Why is it the prison in Louisiana where the majority of its inmates will never see the outside of Angola’s gates are having a greater impact on the lives of inmates than ones that house those who will rejoin society? Louisiana needs to model all of its prisons after Angola and maybe then Louisiana will not be the most incarcerated population per capita in the country.

Cain has largely rehabilitated much of the prisoners at Angola with the help of Christianity but also says he does not force prisoners to choose Christ. He simply encourages them to find a religion that reaps “moral rehabilitation.” This can be done legally in a country with a freedom of religion and a “separation of church and State” — just look at Angola. This is not about forcing Jesus on people at all, which seems to be the only way people see “religious freedom” in the Bible Belt.

An incredible documentary inspired from a visit to Angola with New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu:

Great read: A Rare Look Inside Angola Prison

BleedTechBlue Radio Season 8 Episode 2

Louisiana Tech opens its football season Saturday inside Joe Aillet Stadium as they face the Southern University Jaguars. Host Jonathan Ford and guest co-host Chris Brister talk about the game and its matchups with beat writer Les East of The Advocate in Baton Rouge. Tech is entering its final season under contract with Nike and are looking to change apparel companies and Ford and Brister discussed the options and their impact.

Honeymoon photos from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe

Allison and I honeymooned in San Fransisco and Lake Tahoe last summer. Here’s a few photos from our trip.

Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary

Today marks the tenth anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. I was raised in Southeast Louisiana and my parents and brother live in the New Orleans Metropolitan are when Katrina hit but they had sought refuge in South Arkansas with family.

That day 10 years ago I was a senior at Louisiana Tech and could not stop reading or watching anything to do with the storm and the aftermath that would follow. It would take my family a month to be able to move back into their home in Mandeville. A several hundred year old tree had left a hole in the roof but a Southern Baptist chainsaw crew had removed the tree and tarped the hole. The state of the home I grew up in was largely a mystery. My parents found a photo online that was a photo of their street, Marilyn Drive, with trees covering the street. One of my childhood friends, Josh Hayden, and his brother Adam climbed over those trees covering the street down to the house and told us the state of the house.

Luckily for Mandeville, the flooding was not what it was a mere 30 miles south across Lake Ponchartrain.

While much of the damage in Mandeville from Katrina was not avoidable, the flooding on the southshore of Lake Ponchartrain seemingly was. A documentary titled “The Big Uneasy,” addresses the decades of mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers that led to the flooding nightmare New Orleanians experienced during the days following Katrina.

Fun times on the radio with an old friend

Wednesday I was on the radio with Sean Fox. Fox and I have known one another since high school and went to college together at Louisiana Tech. He was the host of Fox and Company a daily sports talk show on ESPN Radio 97.7 in Ruston for years and recently came back to the radio waves hosting The Sports Company everyday from 3-6pm.

BleedTechBlue Radio Season 8 Episode 1

First episode of season 8 of BleedTechBlue Radio. Time flies…

Stephen Colbert on Making The Late Show His Own

Stephen Colbert on Making The Late Show His Own

My first attempt at a @mattjlange style slow motion Instagram video.

Louisiana Tech head football coach Skip Holtz comments on coaching IK Enemkpali during his time at Tech after the incident with Geno Smith.

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