Patrick Bernard is as normal as they come: a hard working family man who loves his wife and son. He leads a simple, yet busy life: a life made up of working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Life as he knows it comes to a halt on a hot summer morning in Louisiana.
The day begins like any other in 1970. It’s a Saturday, which for Patrick, means cleaning pools for the wealthy. He drives along the elegant neighborhood, admiring the perfectly manicured lawns, wishing he could buy a home like this for his family one day. His thoughts are interrupted by the sounds of sirens. To his horror, those sirens are intended for him. He nervously puts out his joint with shaking hands, surprised at the commotion for his little crime; only the sirens have nothing to do with that little crime. The sirens are on the hunt for the rapist and murderer of Melanie Marie Vicario, a young girl freshly killed down the street.
Patrick is cuffed, thrown in the back of a police car, booked, and thrown in jail. His only hope is the court-appointed lawyer representing him. That hope vanishes when he is sentenced to life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary; also known as Angola, which is considered one of the harshest and bloodiest prisons in the country during this time. He is torn from is wife and young son with no way to escape the torture and confinements of prison life, and forced to adapt accordingly if he wants to stay alive.