Journalist Cheryl Wittenauer is based in St. Louis.
Organized religion reasserts its role to help facilitate healing in the St. Louis metropolitan area, following demonstrations about the acquittal of a white former police officer in the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Story updated: Archbishop Robert Carlson led an interfaith prayer service Sept. 19 in St. Louis, a city on edge from the acquittal of a white police officer charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black man in 2011.
The prison's warden says the Catholic inmates were under-churched, but the prison's first full-time priest in eight years could change that.
Warden Burl Cain has said prison is for predators, not dying old men, but Louisiana’s tough sentencing laws mean a lot of old men die while incarcerated.
In Louisiana, rape, armed robbery and murder warrant life without parole, so in a maximum-security prison like the one Cain runs at Angola, the result is that 95 percent of inmates die in prison.
That sobering reality led Cain to launch a hospice program that trains specially screened inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary to care for their dying “brothers” and be with them in their final journey.