Razor Wire Rodeo


On June 16 1995, Jerry Brown, 18, killed a man for a small bag of marijuana. He was sentenced to life without parole and sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, America's most infamous and largest maximum-security prison. 5000 inmates, mostly African Americans, are locked up there. Most of them are serving sentences so long that they are going to die at Angola.

Now Jerry Brown is the star of a brutal and controversial event: The Angola Prison Rodeo. Each Sunday in October, volunteer inmates battle bulls without training. This event allows them to enjoy a few seconds of fame in front of a crowd of 10 000 people and make some money. For Burl Cain, Angola’s charismatic warden, the rodeo is a massive moneymaker that allows him to fund his major program: the moral and religious rehabilitation of inmates that have no hope of ever walking free again.

Through the prism of Jerry Brown, Razor Wire Rodeo tells the unflinching story of men, whose lives have been defined by violence and crushed by the pitiless corrections practices in Louisiana. The film investigates in depth the flaws in the one of the most severe criminal justice system in the world, where justice and politics are inextricably linked.

Jerry Brown believes that the fame achieved with each rodeo, will help him to get out of Angola one day. But in Louisiana, a state that granted only two clemencies in the last ten years, his battle against the bull is merely symbolic of a fight lost a long time ago. A fight to grasp unreachable freedom.

Razor Wire Rodeo