01/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Reform," Bobby Jindal Style

We may be on the brink of inaugurating a Black president, but the
miscarriage of justice unfolding in Louisiana with the case of the
Angola 3 tells a different story about race, power and accountability
in our criminal justice system. At the top of the food chain is
self-styled reformer and the GOP's supposed answer to Obama,

Albert Woodfox has spent the last 36 years in solitary confinement -- 23
out of 24 hours each day in a 6×9 cell -- for the murder of a white
prison guard, a crime

Despite increasing evidence of Woodfox's innocence, the State of
Louisiana is digging in its heels. They've pushed back against a
federal judge who has overturned Woodfox's conviction and ordered his
release. The reason is becoming crystal clear: It's not because they
believe that Woodfox or the other two people referred to as the
"Angola 3" murdered anyone. It's because the three men were organizing
within the prison for better conditions, an end to sexual abuses, and
the fair treatment of inmates. Apparently, in Louisiana, seeking
justice means you deserve to be framed for murder and locked away

James "Buddy" Caldwell, the state's Attorney General, has led the
state's fight and Burl Cain, the warden at Angola, is acting as
Caldwell's henchman. Ultimately, it's Governor Bobby Jindal who is
giving them cover despite being presented with all the facts and being
asked repeatedly to intervene. So much for the promise of Jindal and
his self-description as a "reformer."

A look at recent proceedings shows that the desire to keep Woodfox
behind bars has nothing to do with whether Woodfox is guilty or
innocent. Cain has made it clear that he doesn't care. Cain wants him
behind bars for no reason other than the fact that Woodfox has been a
force for reform from within the prison walls. Says Cain, "The thing
about him is that he wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He
wants to be defiant." Cain has said that even if he knew Woodfox
hadn't killed the guard,

Several months before Judge James Brady overturned Woodfox's
conviction, more than 25,000 members

In recent weeks, as pressure has mounted for Woodfox to be released,
Caldwell, the Attorney General, has gone deeper in attempting to
demonize Woodfox. He has taken to

We've seen unequal and unfair justice before in Louisiana. We can just
look back at

In the case of the Jena 6, there was an outcry from across the
country, culminating in a march of more than 20,000 in the town of
Jena. While leaders across the country decried the injustice in Jena,
surprisingly, Jindal called those protesting

While Governor Jindal claims to be a reformer and has his eyes on the
White House, his silence in the Angola 3 case and his language around
the case of the Jena 6 tell