Monday, June 18, 2012

Prolonged Solitary Confinement on Trial --An interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

**Watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on solitary confinement in US prisons here! 
RELATED COVERAGE:  Prof. Bell interviewed by Wanda Sabir, Democracy Now, The Atlantic (parts 1, 2, 3), Time Magazine, UK Guardian
Angela A. Allen-Bell speaks in Baton Rouge at the Louisiana State Capitol on April 17, 2012 when Amnesty International delivered a 67,000 signature demanding Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox's immediate release from solitary confinement.

Prolonged Solitary Confinement on Trial
--An interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

By Angola 3 News

A diverse grassroots movement confronting the widespread use of prolonged solitary confinement in US prisons appears to be gaining momentum. On the morning of Tuesday, June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is having an important public hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and PublicSafety Consequences,”  presided over by Chairman Dick Durbin.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Angola Three: 40 Years of Solitary, 40 Years of Cruel and Unusual Punishment (Statement to Senate Judiciary Committee)

A3 supporters at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, April 17, 2012, exactly 40 years after Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were put in solitary confinement at Angola State Prison.

(Note: below is the statement by the Angola 3, submitted to the US Senate Judiciary Committee for their hearing on June 19, 2012 entitled, “Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences."  In April 2011, Congressmen Bobby Scott, John Conyers, and Cedric Richmond all hosted a Congressional Briefing on “The Abuses of Solitary Confinement in the U.S. Criminal Justice System” that included a screening of "In The Land of the Free," a full length feature documentary film about the A3 civil and criminal cases narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.)

Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Graham:

My name is Robert Hillary King.  I spent 29 years in solitary before I was freed in 2001 after proving my innocence.  Since then I have worked tirelessly speaking and traveling around the world to raise awareness about prison conditions in the US, and to bring attention to the remaining two members of the Angola 3—Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox—who are still actively fighting to prove their innocence in federal court.  Both remain behind solitary bars in Louisiana today after 40 years. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly article on the Angola 3 by Prof. Angela A. Allen-Bell

Vikki Wallace, sister of Herman Wallace, holds a photo of Albert Woodfox and Herman, standing outside the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, April 17, 2012.

**Read Prof. Bell's statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee about solitary confinement and the Angola 3 here.

(Note: This law journal article has been reprinted in full by permission of the author. All rights are reserved. Please email the author for permission to reprint: The article's footnotes are reprinted in full at the end of the article, and are designated throughout the body of the article by [FN]. For ease of citation, we have preserved the original page numbers from the printed Hastings CLQ article. The page break notations and corresponding page numbers are designated as [*]. For example, in the first paragraph, [*764] marks where page 763 ends and 764 begins.)

Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly
Volume 39, Number 4
Summer 2012
Pages 763-821


Angela A. Allen-Bell [FNa1]

Copyright (c) 2012 University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Angela A. Allen-Bell


       Incarceration has crept its way into the mainstream of American society. It no longer conjures an emotional reaction. In fact, for [*764] many populations, it is a predictable destination. For others, it is a fate easily justified. “Since the mid 1990s, the war on drugs, the war on gangs, the war on terror, ‘zero tolerance’ and sentencing policies such as ‘three strikes and you're out[,]’ ‘mandatory minimum sentences[,]’ and ‘truth in sentencing’ have all contributed to the dramatic increase in the number of people sent to prison in the United States and in the length of sentences they serve.” [FN2]