He May Have Served More Time in Solitary Than Anyone

Albert Woodfox, 75, released from prison in 2016, spent 43 years in solitary confinement
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2022 11:43 AM CDT
He May Have Served More Time in Solitary Than Anyone
Albert Woodfox is seen at a news conference on a report on solitary confinement, at Loyola University in New Orleans on June 25, 2019.   (AP Photo/Kevin McGill, File)

Albert Woodfox, a member of the "Angola Three" who was thought to have spent more time in solitary confinement than any other person in US history, has died at the age of 75, reports the Guardian. Woodfox's brother and legal team said he died of complications from COVID. Per the Washington Post, Woodfox was sent to prison in Louisiana in 1965 for armed robbery after the killing of prison guard Brent Miller and then placed in solitary in 1972, where he remained until he was released from prison in 2016—a total of 43 years, 10 months in a 6x9-foot cell for 23 hours a day. After he found himself once more in the outside world, Woodfox immersed himself in speaking out against solitary confinement and championing other prison reforms and racial justice, traveling domestically and around the world to educate others.

In a 2020 interview with the Post, Woodfox noted that even though "our cells were meant to be death chambers ... we turned them into high schools, universities, debate halls, [and] law schools." He also said that what he endured "made me a better man, a better human being." Woodfox's 2019 memoir, Solitary, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Citing stats from the American Friends Service Committee, the Post notes that more than 80,000 children and adults remain in solitary confinement in prisons across the US. Woodfox served his time in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola Prison, and he and and two other long-serving inmates were known as the Angola Three. Read more on Woodfox's extraordinary tale of isolation here. (More Albert Woodfox stories.)

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