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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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/16/13]

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The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. •  According to the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 104 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike, with 44 being force-fed and two hospitalized. The Miami Herald also […]

Voices from Solitary: The Louder My Voice the Deeper They Bury Me

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The following poem is by Herman Wallace, who has been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s prison system for almost 41 years, mostly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. Convicted of killing a guard at Angola, Wallace and fellow prisoner Albert Woodfox, both members of the Angola 3, were placed in solitary in 1972, where, […]

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 […]

40 Years in Solitary: New BBC Program on the Angola 3 Case

This month marks 40 years in solitary confinement for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, the two members of the Angola 3 who remain in prison–and in 23-hour lockdown–in Louisiana. They were placed in solitary confinement following the 1972 murder of a prison guard, for which they were convicted on highly dubious evidence. They believe that they […]

“God’s Own Warden”: Inside Angola Prison

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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 […]

Angola 3 Mark 39 Years in Solitary Confinement

Robert King in replica cell. Photo by Chris Granger, The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have entered their 40th year in solitary confinement in the Louisiana prison system. A series of events in New Orleans last month marked the 39th “anniversary” of their placement in solitary, following the murder of Angola prison guard Brent Miller–a murder for which Wallace and Woodfox were later convicted on highly […]

Angola Prison May Close Lockdown Unit–But Vows to Keep Inmates in Isolation

Drawing of a cell in CCR, by the Angola 3's Herman Wallace

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Louisiana Department of Corrections “is contemplating the sale of prisons and the closure of an inmate isolation unit in order to cut costs during difficult budget times.” Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc told the Advocate, “Everything has to be put on the table” to deal with massive state budget deficits. […]

John Thompson Takes a Louisiana Injustice from Death Row to the Supreme Court

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The model electric chair sitting on the desk of New Orleans prosecutor JimWilliams was like a piece of stranger-than-fiction Louisiana Gothic. But for John Thompson, it was all too real. “Seated” in the electric chair were photographs of five African American men that the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office had proudly sent to death row. […]