Albert Woodfox Free After 45 Years in One of the Country's Most Notorious Prisons
Date:  02-22-2016

After spending nearly all of his time in solitary confinement Woodfox's dream comes true
NEW ORLEANS — A hotel door, a short elevator ride, a stroll through the lobby and the urge to take a walk were all that separated Albert Woodfox from the great wide world.

This had been the case only for less than 24 hours. On Friday morning, Mr. Woodfox, who had just turned 69, was released from prison as part of a plea deal with Louisiana prosecutors. He pleaded no contest before a state judge to charges of manslaughter and aggravated burglary in the 1972 death of a corrections officer. In return, he turned his back on the 45 years he had spent in Louisiana’s custody, nearly all that time in a 50-square-foot cell, perhaps the longest time in solitary confinement of any prisoner in United States history.

Now on Saturday morning, he was sitting in a hotel suite alongside one of his brothers and members of the legal team that had worked for years for his release. He was calm, composed, steady as a surgeon, but one imagines that survival would have been impossible without this sort of disposition.

“I don’t think I ever felt that I would die in prison,” Mr. Woodfox, who is black, said. But he acknowledged: “As the years passed, it became more difficult to feel that way.”

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