Not every blog post can free a man from Angola Prison, but ours did.
In 1999, John Kinsel was convicted of raping a child and sentenced to life without parole. Despite his accuser coming forward as an adult and saying she made the story up, and despite a judge ordering him a new trial, Kinsel has been confined to Louisiana State Penitentiary -- known as Angola -- for the past 11 years. (Check our cover story on Kinsel.)
Hair Balls drove to the Angola Prison Rodeo earlier this month to talk to Kinsel, who was separated from us only by a chain-linked fence as he sold his wares at the craft fair. We published the interview here.
Angola, apparently, was not pleased.
Kinsel's sister, Alice Wilkinson, got a call from an Angola inmate today. "John told me to call you," the inmate told Wilkinson. According to the inmate, Kinsel was approached in the hobby shop by prison guards and told to pack his things. They were moving him out of Angola for having an "unauthorized interview" at the rodeo.
It's rumored that Kinsel is heading to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison in Saint Gabriel, Louisiana. Hunt holds about half the number of prisoners that Angola does.
Mary Kinsel, his other sister who is food service manager at the Eastham State Prison in Lovelady, Texas, said that Angola is denying Kinsel his right to media access. She said she's not surprised. "They're getting scared, that's all," she said.
As far as prison reputations go, it doesn't get much worse than Angola, which is nicknamed the Alcatraz of the South. Kinsel's family acknowledges the move may be a good thing. "None of us have any way of knowing," Wilkinson said. "I'm just scared for him."