Two inmates at Louisiana’s Angola prison, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, were convicted in 1972 of of killing guard Brent Miller. National Public Radio says they have been in solitary confinement ever since, the longest any inmate has spent in isolation in modern U.S. history. In a 3-part series, NPR says “the murder seems even more unsettled and elusive than it did then, and there are questions about their guilt.” Angola’s correctional officers live on site. It was here at B-line, as they call it, where Miller was born and raised. Men in white uniforms are cut grass, paint houses, and plant gardens, free of cost to the prison staff. It’s a tradition at this historically black prison run largely by white officers.
At the time of the killing, both men were serving 50 years: Woodfox for armed robbery, Wallace for bank robbery. Inmates say they used to hold meetings behind the dorms, saying they were starting a Black Panther chapter in the prison. Tall, lean, and muscular, they walked around wearing black berets, talking about revolution in a segregated, entirely white-run, southern prison.