I‘m driving a rented white Nissan Sentra, winding past a church and 250 homes near Louisiana's Lake Killarney on my way to play golf. The houses are small but tidy, with neatly clipped yards and recycling bins out front. Everyone waves at me as I drive by.
The scene is similar to that at thousands of gated-community golf courses across the country. Here, though, I'm required to answer an unusual question before I hit the links. "You don't have any guns, do you?" the security guard asks at the front gate. "All right, you're good to go. Pro shop's to the right."
I pay my greens fees and head to the first hole. The tee markers are white handcuffs, welded shut. Just past the lake, peering at me from the distance, are the eyes of six guard towers.
If ever there were a question about the ballooning scale of America's prison system, the Louisiana State Penitentiary provides an answer. It has its own golf course.