Petition delivered to state capital calling for release of Albert Woodfox
Woodfox of the “Angola Three” has been in solitary confinement in Louisiana for 41 years
BATON ROUGE – Today, Monday, October 21, representatives from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will join Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) activists on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol to deliver a petition signed by more than 20,000 people. The petition calls for the immediate release of Albert Woodfox, the last member of the “Angola 3” still in prison. Despite his conviction having been overturned three times, Woodfox has remained in solitary confinement for over 41 years in Louisiana.
Speaking on behalf of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will be Rev. Dr. Patricia T. Bates, an ordained Deacon in The United Methodist Church, who serves as Peace with Justice Coordinator for The United Methodist Church of Louisiana Annual Conference. Bates is also Professor Emeritus of English at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Other speakers include Robert King, the first member of the Angola 3, who was freed after 29 years in solitary confinement; Michael Mable, Woodfox’s brother; and Jasmine Heiss, Campaigner for Amnesty International USA.
“There is no moral nor legal justification for holding Albert Woodfox, whose conviction has been overturned for the third time, in solitary confinement for over 41 years,” said Laura Markle Downton, director of U.S. prisons policy and program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “We join the thousands today calling for the release of Albert Woodfox and an end to his more than four decades in such cruel and inhumane conditions.
“The experience of the late Herman Wallace who also endured over 41 years in solitary confinement, and Robert King who faced almost 30 years in isolation, tells a devastating tale of the immorality and indignity of our justice system. As we call for Mr. Woodfox’s release, we remember that over 80,000 men, women and youth in U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers are subjected to solitary confinement on any given day, detained in a cell alone for 23 hours a day for months, years, and sometimes even decades. Such conditions are a form of torture. People of faith recognize that solitary confinement denies the essential God-given need for community and destroys not only the individuals subjected to such conditions but also the families, communities and loved ones of those subjected to such inhumane treatment.”