23 May 2012
Where's the evidence?

Campaigners handing over a petition signed by more then 67,000 people in over 125 countries to the Governor of Louisiana, 17 April 2012.
© Amnesty International

On April 17th, Amnesty International submitted a petition to the Governor of Louisiana with over 67,000 signatures from individuals in 125 countries demanding that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace be removed from long term isolation. The two men have spent nearly 40 years in solitary confinement in Closed Cell Restriction (CCR) at Louisiana State Penitentiary (known as Angola prison).

Despite the overwhelming number of signatures in the petition, and the presence of representatives from local and national organizations as well as political figures, Governor Jindal refused to meet with the delegation, and referred the issue to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The Secretary of the Department, James M. LeBlanc, in turn justified their continued placement in CCR by stating that they were a danger to prison employees, other inmates and visitors.  He also denied that conditions for the men were inhumane.

After years of working on the case, Amnesty International is not aware of ANY evidence to suggest that the men are a danger to themselves or to others. Prison records show that neither man has committed any serious disciplinary infraction for decades nor do the prison mental health records demonstrate that they pose a threat to themselves or others.

Amnesty International is firm in its belief that conditions for the men in CCR – 23 hour cellular confinement in stark, tiny cells; limited access to books, newspapers and TV; no opportunities for mental stimulation, work and education; occasional visits from friends and family and limited telephone calls - amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

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