Albert Woodfox has spent nearly two-thirds of his life in solitary confinement.
Woodfox, the last member of the Angola 3 still in prison, has been locked in the same tiny cell for almost 44 years. He is only allowed out of his cell for one hour a day and is still left alone in a concrete “exercise yard” during that time.
In 2014, Woodfox gave a testimony about the horror of his confinement, saying, “I’m afraid I’m going to turn into a baby and curl up in a fetal position and lay there like that day after day for the rest of my life. I’m afraid I’m going to attack my own body, maybe cut off my balls and throw them through the bars the way I’ve seen others do when they couldn’t take any more. No television or hobby craft or magazines or any of the other toys you call yourself allowing can ever lessen the nightmare of this hell you help to create and maintain.”
He was jailed for the 1972 murder of a prison guard, Brent Miller, and despite the fact that his conviction has been overturned several times, he remains America’s longest-standing solitary confinement prisoner. Many believe that Woodfox was framed for the murder of the guard because of his affiliation with the Black Panthers. At the time, he was organizing inmates to protest the segregation and inhumane conditions inside Louisiana’s Angola prison.
But now, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Woodfox has been released as of Friday.