My afternoons at Angola

I thought of writing another poem about Angola, to see whether it turned out to be poetic or imitation poetic, but decided I should start a series of posts about my visits to the place.

I am reading Wilbert Rideau’s memoir. When Rideau he was still at Angola, and was editor of the magazine, he was the prisoner who had the most, and most varied contact with the outside world. He had not always been like that.

I started visiting Angola because I got involved in a campaign to free Hayes Williams, long before the the Innocence Project came in on his case. Williams was the complainant in Williams vs. McKeithen, filed in 1971 and won in 1975.

The suit meant massive improvements in Louisiana prison conditions. People still file for remedy under it, and I should follow this more closely. These experiences, in any case, were what got me interested in the law.

The prisoners fill out forms, and they write poems, letters, plays, and legal documents.


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