The Investigators: Longtime Angola prison warden Burl Cain says he is resigning

Angola warden Burl Cain announces resignation
Published: Dec. 9, 2015 at 9:27 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2015 at 3:19 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Longtime Angola warden Burl Cain says he will resign effective January 1, 2016.

While he insists he has done nothing wrong, Cain's decision to step down as head of the country's largest prison comes amid a series of investigative reports by The Advocate newspaper. The reports by the newspaper questioned whether Cain's private business dealings, including a large real estate deal, violated a Louisiana Department of Corrections policy that forbids personal interactions between Department of Public Safety and Corrections personnel and inmates or their families.

Perhaps one of the most damning reports by the newspaper alleged that Cain got a prisoner who was on his deathbed to videotape a murder confession, claiming that he was actually the killer and that another inmate, who was friends with a Cain associate, was not. The videotape was ultimately not used in court and the accused killer is still locked up. The inmate who made the videotape died three days later. A prosecutor on that case called the videotape a "fraud perpetrated on the court."

Cain, who maintains he has done nothing wrong in any of the instances raised by the newspaper, said The Advocate planned to publish another report about him next Sunday.

"And rather than more discredit come out and more embarrassment to the department and even the new administration, it's just time for me to go," Cain told WAFB's Kiran Chawla.

He said when the newspaper questioned his religious beliefs, he knew it was time to step down and he informed his wife of his decision Tuesday night.

"I'm real sensitive to that, the religion part. So, I knew it was time to go. I'm too old to have to put up with all that," Cain explained.

Cain, a devout Christian, has been recognized around the world for his efforts in reforming Angola. He said forming a seminary at the prison is his proudest accomplishment. Cain has said he believes the only way to give inmates hope is to encourage a spiritual atmosphere in prison systems.

Jimmy LeBlanc, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections released the following statement Wednesday evening:

Warden Burl Cain informed me today that he intended to retire as Warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary.  He will leave the Warden's position effective January 1, 2016.

Over the course of his career in Corrections, Warden Cain has contributed significantly to public safety and offender rehabilitation, including the establishment of both the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at Angola and the Reentry Court program.

Warden Cain has also been involved in the successful campaign of the Louisiana Prison Chapel Foundation to build chapels at every state correctional facility in Louisiana.

Since 1995, Warden Cain has been responsible for the operations of one of the largest maximum security prisons in the country.  His leadership and experience have been tremendous assets to the Department.  Other states have followed Warden Cain's lead and mimicked programs and policies he instituted over the years.  The Department wishes him the best in his retirement.

Cain became warden of Angola in 1995. Prior to that, he was warden at Dixon Correctional Center. Cain said his total of 34 years as a warden makes him the country's longest serving warden. He added instilling religion in the hearts of inmates at Angola will be his legacy.

What's next for you?

"I don't know. It's going to be fun to find out isn't it? I have no idea," Cain replied.

He laughed and added the following.

"It's going to be good."

Cain said he does not know who will be the next warden at Angola, but he promises to work closely with that person to insure a smooth and safe transition.

Even as he steps down in January, Louisiana will still have one prison warden named Nathan Burl Cain. The elder Cain's son, Nathan B. Cain II, is warden of Avoyelles Parish Correctional Center in Cottonport.

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