Albert Woodfox, Black Panther affiliate and one of the Angola 3, was finally released from prison on his birthday, February 19. Woodfox fought for political and social change in the late 1960’s while being involved in the Black Panther Party. Unfortunately, he was charged with armed robbery and later murder, that caused him to spend half of his life behind bars in the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Woodfox along with Robert King and Herman Wallace were charged with murdering a prison guard back in 1972, after the conviction they were permanently sent to solitary confinement. Woodfox spent 43 years and 10 months in the box and continuously tried to prove his innocence, but it was overruled consecutively.
The Angola 3’s time in solitary confinement were the center of several documentaries about the Black Panther Party and the Louisiana prison system.
“Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case,” Woodfox told the media.
Before being released, Woodfox was last placed at the West Feliciana Parish Detention Center.
Woodbox’s lawyer spoke on his behalf to the media:
“Although we are overjoyed that Albert Woodfox is finally free, it is indefensible he was forced to endure decade after decade in harsh solitary confinement conditions, longer than any prisoner in the history of the United States. Albert survived the extreme and cruel punishment of 40 plus years in solitary confinement only because of his extraordinary strength and character. These inhumane practices must stop. We hope the Louisiana Department of Corrections will reform and greatly limit its use of solitary confinement as have an increasing number of jurisdictions around the country.”
Woodbox said in a statement:
“On behalf of the Angola 3–Albert Woodfox, Robert King, and in memory of Herman Wallace–we would like to sincerely thank all the organizations, activists, artists, legal experts, and other individuals who have so graciously given their time and talent to the Angola 3’s extraordinary struggle for justice. This victory belongs to all of us and should motivate us to stand up and demand even more fervently that long-term solitary confinement be abolished, and all the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.”
Woodfox plans to continue to fight for change in Louisiana and other struggles that Blacks face nationwide. It’s amazing to see his spirit still bright after serving half of his life in jail.
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