According to a statement from his family, Albert Woodfox, a former prisoner who spent years in isolation in a Louisiana prison before becoming a champion for prison reforms after his release, passed away on Thursday as a result of COVID-19 problems. He was 75.
Who is Albert Woodfox?
The “Angola Three” were Woodfox and two other inmates who spent decades in solitary confinement in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and other prisons. Following more than forty years behind bars, Woodfox was finally freed in 2016 after entering a no contest plea to manslaughter in the death of prison officer Brent Miller in 1972. Woodfox insisted again and time again that Miller’s death was an accident.
His family stated in a statement that he passed away at a hospital in New Orleans.
How Did Albert Woodfox Die?
Albert Woodfox, who is believed to have spent more time in solitary confinement than any other person in US history after spending 43 years in a 6 feet by 9 feet cell in one of the worst jails in the country, has passed away at the age of 75.
On Thursday, Woodfox’s longtime attorneys George Kendall and Carine Williams as well as his brother Michael Mable announced his passing. They claimed that Covid-related issues led to his death.
Albert Woodfox, our partner, brother, father, grandpa, comrade, and friend, died away this morning, the family wrote in a letter. He knew you as family, regardless of whether you knew him as Fox, Shaka, Cinque, or Albert. Please know that Albert has been nourished and comforted by your love, compassion, friendship, and support.
Albert Woodfox Biography
The moment Miller’s body was discovered in an empty prison dormitory in 1972, Woodfox was sent in solitary confinement. Subsequently, he was told to be maintained on “extended lockdown” every 90 days for decades. The Angola Three, which included Woodfox and two other prisoners named Robert King and Herman Wallace, were notorious for spending extended periods of time alone.
Both Woodfox and Wallace, who were serving separate terms for armed robbery, said that because of their political engagement, they had been singled out for harsh treatment, including isolation. In 1971, Black Panthers Woodfox and Wallace helped create a prison chapter in Angola. They also helped organise protests and strikes for better working conditions.
They were allegedly placed in solitary confinement because other convicts at the maximum-security prison farm, located approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Baton Rouge, would become enraged by their Black Panther Party action.
Wallace, who was found guilty of murder together with Woodfox in the death of security guard Brent Miller, passed away a few days after a court exonerated him and ordered a new trial in 2014. After his conviction in the 1973 death of a fellow prisoner was overturned, King was allowed to leave prison in 2001.
Woodfox was facing a third trial in Miller’s death at the time of his release since earlier convictions had been overturned by federal courts due to factors like racial bias in the choice of a grand jury foreman. Woodfox said he had been looking forward to coming to court in a statement at the time.
Albert Woodfox Life in Prison
“Although I had been looking forward to a new trial where I could prove my innocence, my age and ill health have prompted me to settle this matter now and earn my release with this no contest plea to less serious charges. I’m hoping that today’s events will help a lot of people find closure.
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At the time, he also expressed a desire to go to his mother’s grave, who passed away while he was inside. Woodfox claimed that he was forbidden from attending the funeral.
In the years following his release, Woodfox frequently shared his thoughts on prison reform in public speeches. The book “Solitary,” which he also wrote, was about his time in prison and his teenage years, during which he was regularly detained in New Orleans.
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