Albert Woodfox is the only of the long-suffering political prisoners known as the Angola 3 to still be incarcerated. He has been held in solitary confinement – which UN experts insist is a form of torture – for an unconscionable 43 years. Following the overturn of his conviction in a federal court in November, a Louisiana Judge ordered in June that the now-elderly Woodfox, whom evidence suggests was never guilty of the crime for which he was given a life sentence, be released immediately. The Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has no intention of following this order however. After his conviction was overturned, Woodfox was charged once again in February and has yet to be released. The conviction of one of his fellow members of the Angola 3, Robert King, was overturned in 2001. Herman Wallace, the other of the three founding members of the Angola Chapter of the Black Panther Party, was finally released on October 1, 2013 only to die three days later of advanced liver cancer on October 4.
The story of Albert Woodfox tells us all that we need to know about the horrific conditions facing prisoners in the United States, and the troubling origins of American mass incarceration rooted in slavery.
Calling it “the only just remedy,” federal district Judge James Brady ordered Woodfox, 68, released immediately and unconditionally from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, after spending 43 years in solitary confinement. The court ruled that based on evidence pointing to his innocence, Woodfox should not be tried a third time for the 1972 murder of a prison guard.
Woodfox is the last of the Angola 3, who were convicted of the killing of the guard during a 1972 prison riot. At that time, the men were organizing a chapter of the Black Panther Party, and Woodfox always maintained his innocence, claiming the prison retaliated against him for his political organizing. He…
View original post 913 more words