I can't think of anything that I have done the same for 28 years in a row.
Kenny Whitmore can though.
Whatever your opinion of punishment for those convicted--whether you are "hard core retribution" for crimes committed or more "rehabilitation-oriented"--Kenny Whitmore's story is worth discussing.
Nicknamed "Zulu" and serving a life sentence for 2nd degree murder conviction from the 1970s, Whitmore is being held in the largest maximum security prison in the US: the Louisiana State Penitentiary--better known as "Angola" or "The Farm."
In this case, life means life and Whitmore will never be released unless something changed with his conviction.
Inside the prison, he is considered a security risk due to his affiliation with the historically violent Black Panther movement, and an attempted escape in 1986.
After the incident in '86, prison officials moved Whitmore to solitary confinement.
He has no contact with other inmates, and eats his meals in his cell.
Whitmore leaves his estimated 6 foot by 9 foot cell for only one hour per day--to go to just another place that he is alone.
That has been his routine.
For the last 28 years.
Sadly, there are lots of inmates who have committed violent crimes including murder.
Lots that have gang ties.
And, even a fair number have escaped or tried to escape during their incarceration.
But 28 years in solitary?
With the offense that got him there being 28 years ago?
It sounds like authorities will have to make their case to the public as to why this man is dangerous and needs to be secured in such a manner.
Warden Burl Cain said that he is debating an end to Whitmore's restrictive confinement, but still considers the inmate a safety risk, so he is hesitant.
In an interview for a published article, Warden Cain was not able to make a convincing case for his confinement choice of Whitmore.
I expected him to describe an inmate who is perpetually violent; one that threatens others throughout the day.
Painting a picture of an offender who needed to be kept away from everyone for the last 30 years.
But he did not.
Perhaps, he will later.
Or, maybe the first try was his best shot.
Sadly, I am not sure what expectations Cain should have for anyone locked in solitary for that long that is returned to general population at the prison.
I can't imagine many people retaining much of their sanity after losing all social contacts for almost three decades.
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