The last of the ‘Angola Three’ inmates, who spent decades in solitary confinement in connection with the death of a prison guard, has been released.
68-year-old Albert Woodfox after more than 40 years in solitary, which human rights experts have said constitutes torture, has been freed.
U.S. District Judge James Brady of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ordered the release of Woodfox and took the extraordinary step of barring Louisiana prosecutors from trying him for a third time.
A spokesman for the Louisiana attorney general said the state would appeal Brady’s ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ‘to make sure this murderer stays in prison and remains fully accountable for his actions’.
Woodfox was placed in solitary confinement in 1972 after being charged in the death of a Louisiana State Penitentiary guard Brent Miller in April of that year, according to NOLA.com.
The prison farm where he held is commonly known as the Angola prison and is Louisiana’s only maximum-security prison.
Woodfox and two other state prisoners became known as the Angola Three because of their long stretches in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
Other members of the Angola Three were prisoners Robert King and Herman Wallace.
Woodfox and Wallace, who were both serving unrelated armed robbery sentences, had said they were singled out for harsh treatment, including isolation, because of their political activism.
Woodfox and Wallace were former Black Panthers and helped establish a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party at the Angola prison in 1971, set up demonstrations and organized strikes for better conditions.