The sprawling Louisiana State Penitentiary and prison farm is home to lots of tough characters–both inside and outside the maximum-security facility.


The roaming and unconfined residents on the grounds of the 28-square miles of piney woods and farmland include rattlesnakes, wild razorback hogs, alligators and at least 8 black bears, including one estimated to weigh more than 400 pounds.

The Associated Press reports that an inmate spotted the enormous bruin for the first time last week as it was crossing a road. Judging from the size of its tracks and the eyewitness report, the bear was thought to weigh around 450 pounds, according to Warden Burl Cain.

The warden embraced the idea that the big fellow is roaming the backwoods and believes the knowledge of its presence alone may act as a deterrent for any prisoner who may consider an escape attempt.

“I love that bear being right where it is,” said Cain. “I tell you what, none of our inmates are going to try to get out after dark and wander around when they might run into a big old bear. It’s like having another guard at no cost to the taxpayer.”

The last recorded escape at the prison also known as Angola was nearly three years ago, and the inmate was quickly captured before leaving the grounds.


Here at the Newshound, we can only imagine the scene if a Louisiana State Pen inmate on farm work detail attempted to elude guards and found himself face-to-face with a big, mean and hairy fellow three times his size.

With doubt, the inmate and bear could potentially reprise Paul Newman and George Kennedy’s classic fight scene in the ageless prison flick, Cool Hand Luke.

We think it would be a classic example of “a failure to communicate.”