Activist And Author Who Spent More Than 43 Years In Solitary Confinement Dead At 75

@LA_Humanities via Twitter

Some consider solitary confinement to be a form of torture. Some have experienced this form of torture, and many of them have trouble coping. Albert Woodfox was different.

Woodfox and two other men, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were arrested in 1965 and accused of murdering a corrections officer named Brent Miller. They were known as the Angola 3. 

The men were convicted in 1972, but they all claimed they were innocent and had been wrongfully convicted. Regardless, they were all sentenced to solitary confinement.

Woodfox spent 43 years in solitary confinement. His cell was 6 feet by 9 feet, and he was in his cell for 23 hours each day. According to NPR, while he was in his cell, he was subject to gassings, beatings, and claustrophobia.

Woodfox was released from prison in 2016. He was 69 years old. Now, at the age of 75, Woodfox has passed away. His family says that he died from coronavirus complications.

In 2019, Woodfox was interviewed by NPR’s Scott Simon. He told Simon, “Well, gas was a standard form of weapons that the security people used. So anytime you challenge inhumane treatment or you challenge unconstitutional conduct, they would gas you.”

After being released, he wrote a book called “Solitary.” Woodfox read an except of his book to Simon. He explained how he managed to stay sane in prison. He read, “I pace the cell to think. I pace to relieve tension. I lightly box the walls. My knuckles have calluses on them from boxing the wall. I do pushups on my fists. I don’t have deep thoughts. I’m practical. I get through the day the way I have done a thousand times. Will this be the day I break? I push that thought away – mind over matter. I keep moving so later I can sleep sometime.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Woodfox’s life in prison and what he had to say when he was finally released.

Woodfox told Simon that the Angola 3 all agreed that they “would be the voice and the face of the many women and children that – hidden behind the walls of prisons in this country. So that’s, you know, what we are trying to do now. And, of course, we are trying to end the use of solitary. You know, solitary confinement is the most cruel form of torture.”

Watch the video below to hear Woodfox reflect on his life.

Do you think solitary confinement should be considered a form of torture?