36 Years of Solitary: Murder, Death, and Justice on Angola

National Public Radio

Angola, the vast prison farm in southern Louisiana, is in many ways a world of its own. Long notorious as one of the most violent penitentiaries in America, it is defined by almost feudal characteristics. Among them is a deep secrecy about many actions and events that have taken place through the years. Correspondent Laura Sullivan uncovered one of them. In 1972, a guard, Brent Miller, was murdered by inmates. Sullivan was not allowed to interview any current inmates, but some who were on Angola in 1972 and have since been released talked to her on condition of anonymity. They say two men, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, were held responsible for the murder. The two were incarcerated in solitary confinement for 36 years. Recently a federal magistrate reviewed Woodfox’s case and the two were moved to maximum security. Should they take part in a telephone interview, however, they would be returned to solitary. Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned on grounds of ineffective lawyers. The Attorney General of Louisiana is appealing and says he will fight all the way to the Supreme Court. After interviewing employees and former inmates, Sullivan’s account raised additional, crucial questions casting doubt on the guilt of Wallace and Woodfox. A Peabody Award goes to 36 Years of Solitary: Murder, Death and Justice on Angola, the chronicle of a case of horrendous punishment.


Editor: Steven Drummond. Reporter: Laura Sullivan. Producer: Amy Walters.