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 dubious evidence. The third member of the Angola 3, Robert King, was convicted of a separate prison murder, and released after 29 years in solitary when his conviction was overturned.
King was among the 39 people who paid homage to Wallace and Woodfox’s four-decade ordeal by spending one hour inside a 6 x 9-foot replica “cell,” constructed by artist Jackie Sumell. The anniversary events, which took place at the headquarters of the organization Resurrection After Exoneration in New Orleans. Other events included the screening of the film In the Land of the Free, in which Brent Miller’s widow, Teenie Vernet, expresses her belief that her husband’s killers have not yet been caught. Of Wallace and Woodfox she says: “If they did not do it–and I believe they didn’t–they have been living a nighmare.”
The three men believe they were originally targeted because they were Black Panthers, organizing against conditions at Angola, and Wallace and Woodfox believe they remain in solitary for the same reason. In a 2008 deposition, Angola Warden Burl Cain said Woodfox “wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant…He is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates. I would have me all kind of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them.”
Wallace and Woodfox were recently separated from the prison that made them famous–and from one another–and moved separately to other maximum security prisons. Wallace is now in the Hunt Correctional Center, down the river in St. Gabriel, while Woodfox is in the Wade Correctional Center in Homer, in the far northwest reaches of the state. Both remain in “Closed Cell Restricted” housing, or round-the-clock solitary confinement, with brief excursions for showers and solitary exercise in a “dog pen.” Woodfox is now in his mid-60s, and Wallace is nearing 70. Both depend upon mail to relieve their isolation; they can be reached at the following addresses:
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
CCR – D – #11
PO Box 174
St Gabriel, LA 70776
David Wade Correctional Center, N1A
670 Bell Hill Rd.
Homer, LA 71040