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Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement—in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana—all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.


NEW ORLEANS – A sweeping new report released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana today shows that after a 10.3 percent increase, Louisiana’s pretrial incarceration rate is now three times the national average and the highest of any state on record since 1970. The study, based on an analysis of thousands of jail records, found that 57 percent of people in jail had been arrested for non-violent offenses and that pretrial incarceration costs Louisiana taxpayers nearly $290 million per year. On average, the people represented in the study had been held behind bars for 5 and a half months – without trial or conviction.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 22, 2020CONTACT: Sarah Silberstein 512-472-2700 ssilberstein@texaspolicy.comNew Paper Examines Solitary Confinement in the Pelican StateAUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative published the paper Solitary Confinement in the Pelican State. “The history of Louisiana’s criminal justice system, partic­ularly its penitentiary system, is as complex and unique as the state itself,” says TPPF’s Scott Peyton, Louisiana State Director of Right on Crime. “To understand solitary confinement in Louisiana, one must first understand the history, politics, and culture that led to the creation of a penitentiary system that created the infamous ‘Alcatraz of the South.’ Solitary Confinement has human and financial costs associated with its use, with little data, or research, to indicate is effectiveness in making prisons safer.” Key Points:
  • Louisiana’s solitary confinement law was enacted in the 1800s when the prison population consisted of 112 inmates.

  • Louisiana has an extensive history of relying on solitary confinement as a punitive measure.

  • Louisiana ranks #1 in percentage of inmates in segregation in the United States.

  • The Louisiana Department of Corrections is working to address its reliance on solitary confinement.

To read the paper in full, please visit: For more information, please contact Sarah Silberstein or 512-472-2700. Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility.

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