As It Happens

Albert Woodfox fights to sue Louisiana prison service after more than 40 years in solitary confinement

For 23 hours a day, and for a period of nearly 42 years, Albert Woodfox has been locked in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison. Woodfox is a member of the "Angola 3," a group of men who were members of the Black Panthers, who were all convicted of murder while already in Louisiana's Angola prison, and who were all...
  For 23 hours a day, and for a period of nearly 42 years, Albert Woodfox has been locked in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison. Woodfox is a member of the "Angola 3," a group of men who were members of the Black Panthers, who were all convicted of murder while already in Louisiana's Angola prison, and who were all kept in solitary confinement for decades. 

  Now Woodfox wants to sue the Louisiana prison service for damages. 

"He believes that there's been no justification whatsoever to keep him housed in solitary confinement. He has always been kept there even though his record has been very, very clean and other similarly situated people have been moved out long ago," says Kendall.

  In 1974, Woodfox was convicted of killing a guard during a prison riot two years earlier. That conviction has since been overturned but is being appealed by the state. And through it all, Woodfox has remained in solitary. His lawyer, George Kendall, says the conditions are unnecessarily harsh. 

"He's allowed out 1 hour a day, Monday through Friday, 15 minutes to take a shower. And 3 days a week he is, weather-permitting, allowed to go to a small exercise pen."

  Last fall his co-accused, Herman Wallace, had his conviction overturned and he was released from prison three days before he died of liver cancer. That leaves Woodfox as the longest-serving solitary confinement prisoner in the United States. 

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