Members of Congress Call for Federal Investigation of Louisiana’s Use of Solitary Confinement, Treatment of the Angola 3

Herman Wallace's drawing of his sparse cell, complete with measurements; the total dimensions are 5 feet 10½ inches by 10 feet 1½ inches.

Update, July 15:  Over the weekend, Louisiana’s Hunt prison reduced Herman Wallace’s classification from maximum to medium, according to a source in his defense team. That means the terminally ill Wallace will stay in the prison hospital in a 10-bunk dorm, with access to a day room, and won’t have to wear leg irons. His phone privileges are […]

Louisiana Attorney General Says Angola 3 “Have Never Been Held in Solitary Confinement”

Woodfox and Wallace in recent photos.

James “Buddy” Caldwell, attorney general of the state of Louisiana, has released a statement saying unequivocally that Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, the two still-imprisoned members of the Angola 3, “have never been held in solitary confinement while in the Louisiana penal system.” In fact, Wallace, now 71, and Woodfox, 66, have been in solitary for nearly […]

Torturous Milestone: 40 Years in Solitary for the Angola 3

Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox in the 1970s, with Angola prison in the background. From the film "In the Land of the Free."

Today marks 40 years in solitary confinement for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Our article on the Angola 3 appears today on On the world stage, Guantanamo may well stand as the epitome of American human rights abuses. But when it comes to torture on US soil, that grim distinction is held by two […]

“God’s Own Warden”: Inside Angola Prison

angola cross

Editor’s Note: The latest issue of Mother Jones magazine includes James Ridgeway’s long article on Burl Cain, warden of the nation’s largest prison, and possibly its most notorious. The former slave plantation is known for the fact that 90 percent of its more than 5,000 prisoners will die behind bars, and also for holding two […]

Amnesty International Calls for Angola 3’s Release from 40 Years of Solitary Confinement

Amnesty International has issued a press release, action alert, and detailed report on the case of the Angola 3, which has been extensively documented in Mother Jones (here, here, and here). The press release, issued yesterday, concerns the two members of the Angola 3 who remain in prison and have now entered their 40th year in […]

Our Father Who Art in Prison

Sweatshirt for sale in the Angola Museum gift shop reads "Angola: A Gated Community"

You sometimes have to wonder why the state of Louisiana doesn’t just transform Angola prison into a year-round Christian camp meeting. As I’ve written before, under the tutelage of Warden Burl Cain, Angola has become a place where the only kind of rehabilitation on offer is Christian redemption. I respect any kind of spiritual life prisoners might turn to […]

Louisiana Sues Its Own Death Row Prisoners

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections last Friday sued every inmate on death row, in an effort to block any one of them from challenging the state’s lethal injection procedures. Each of the 84 prisoners in the “death house” at Angola State Penitentiary was personally served papers in the suit, said Nick Trenticosta, who has represented […]

ACLU Gets One Angola Prisoner Released from Solitary

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is kept busy trying to safeguard the basic constitutional rights of the state’s 45,000+ prisoners. According to the group’s web site: Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We have 13 state prisons and a staggering 108 local jails. Our prisons rival Mississippi as the most abhorrent […]

The Mark of Cain: God and Man at Angola Prison


The Associated Press today put out a laudatory piece on Warden Burl Cain’s program of Christian education at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The article, which was picked up by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and dozens of other publications, is sure to advance Cain’s reputation as a great prison reformer. The AP piece depicts Angola as […]

Southern Injustice: 37 Years in Solitary

Herman Wallace's drawing of his cell.

Over the past year, I’ve been writing about the Angola 3 in a series of stories for Mother Jones. Earlier stories have highlighted the men’s federal lawsuit, which claims violations of their constitutional rights, and on Albert Woodfox’s criminal appeal. The latest story, by Jean Casella and myself, focuses on Herman Wallace, and was published last week. For the better part of […]