Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Thursday, April 5, 2012

End The 40 years of solitary Confinement Now

 Here's a letter I wrote via Amnesty International's website, asking the governor of Louisiana to end the solitary confinement of two older, and does it need to be said, but Black, prisoners imprisoned at Louisiana State Pen. They have been in solitary for 40 years, 23 hours a day.
These men have political links to The Black Panthers.

Here's my letter:

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Office of the Governor
Governor Jindal,

Why is solitary confinement a necessary practice, especially for two older people locked in your racist system?

For nearly 40 years, 65-year-old Albert Woodfox and 70-year-old Herman Wallace have been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana. 

If these two men were white, they would never have been locked away like chattel in the cargo hold of a slave ship.

The treatment towards Mr. Woodfox and Mr. Wallace is disgusting, and it violates their human rights. They are both suffering from physical and mental disorders as a direct result of being locked up in solitary confinement for years on end.

Mr. Jindal, Ubuntu is a term from the Swahili meaning, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu defines it, My humanity is wrapped up in your humanity.

 Where is your humanity? We are all connected. By  continuing to allow Mr. Woodfox and Mr. Wallace to be locked away in tiny cells,  and not having any positive interactions, you are refusing to acknowledge their humanity, and treating them as things, and not as beings.

How can this type of system benefit anyone? It damages the inmates, and the community at large. The statistics show us that most people die in prison, and those who do manage to make it out, come out broken, terrified and suffering from numerous mental health issues.

This is not "reform", this is abuse. How can locking anyone, any being in a room alone for 40 years amount to anything good at all?
How would you feel, Mr. Jindal if  you had a neighbour, or a relative who had just been released after having spent years in isolation? Would you feel that that person would be mentally, and emotionally fit to re-join society?

Probably not, right? So why continue this method of racist, human rights abuse?

End the solitary confinement of Mr. Albert Woodfox and Mr. Herman Wallace, now ! Provide  them with counselling  to deal with the trauma of having been locked up for so long. Finally,  allow them to see their families.

This link  below is an interview with one of the men who was being held with Mr. Woodfox and Mr. Wallace. He was also in solitary, but was released 10 years ago.