Is 40 Years Solitary Confinement Enough?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox
Two inmates in Louisiana’s prison system have spent nearly four decades in solitary confinement, raising cries of protests by human rights and prisoner advocates.
The two men in question are Albert Woodfox, 64, and Herman Wallace, 69, both originally convicted of armed robbery. But what landed them in isolation for 39 years was the murder of a prison guard, Brent Miller, at Angola Prison, Louisiana’s maximum security prison, in 1972. In 2008, Miller’s widow, Teenie Vernet expressed her belief that Woodfox and Wallace were not responsible for her husband’s death.
Amnesty International has called the treatment of Woodfox and Wallace “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” and has demanded the release of both prisoners from Closed Cell Restriction.
“The appalling treatment of the ‘Angola 2’ showcases an aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system at its most extreme,” said Larry Cox, executive director for Amnesty International USA. “Even the most hardened criminals are routinely granted rights that these men” have been denied.
Three years ago, it appeared Woodfox might get released from prison, when a district judge overturned his murder conviction on grounds of having ineffective counsel at his trial. But the state appealed the ruling and the Fifth Circuit found the judge had erred, leaving Woodfox still behind bars and by himself.
Woodfox and Wallace are confined to their cells, which measure 6 x 9 feet, for 23 hours a day and they have never been allowed to work or to have access to education.
Woodfox is currently being held at Wade Correctional Center in Homer, and Wallace at Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel. Their supporters believe the real reason they were originally targeted for punishment was that they were political activists who organized protests against prison conditions. 
 -Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Angola 3 Mark 39 Years in Solitary Confinement (by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, Solitary Watch)
What's Next for Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3? (by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, Mother Jones)


Marcus 12 years ago
maybe we should question amnesty international about the accuracy of their sources: march 27, 2008 two former black panthers imprisoned in louisiana are out of solitary confinement for the first time since the 1970s. state corrections officials say herman wallace and albert woodfox were moved... from npr

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