"Reform," Bobby Jindal Style

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

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