La. warden considers ending inmate's 28-year stint in solitary

Inmate who's spent majority of sentence in solitary confinement may find himself released to general population


By C1 Staff

ANGOLA — Warden Burl Cain recently said in an interview with students of the Medill Justice Project that he was considering ending the long-time solitary confinement of inmate Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore.

“We will get him out,” Cain told interviwers, according to The Advocate. “We’d rather him out. I need his cell.

Inmate Kenny "Zulu" Whitmore, in 2000. (Photo Randy Bergeron/The Advocate)
Inmate Kenny "Zulu" Whitmore, in 2000. (Photo Randy Bergeron/The Advocate)

“I’ve got some young people, predators, that need to be in that cell. When I can conclude that he’s not going to cause me the blues, then he can come out of the cell.”

Whitmore was sentenced to life at Angola in 1977 for second-degree murder following the 1975 killing of former Zachary Mayor Marshall Bond.

Whitmore has a long-standing affiliation with the Black Panther Party; he also attempted to escape in 1986, making him a security risk.

Cain said Whitmore’s letters and phone calls would have to be monitored to prove that he was no longer a threat to staff or inmates.

Whitmore filed a federal suit, claiming that his imprisonment in solitary confinement violated his rights and has caused physical ailments, such as vision damage and hypertension.

Cain also stated that Whitmore’s confinement protected him from younger inmates trying to make a name by attacking a high-profile inmate.

Cain recently released 16 inmates to the general population on a trial basis; one inmate stabbed another and Cain expressed disappointment that the other inmates didn’t step in to stop the violence.

He used this as an example of why he’s hesitant to release more inmates from solitary.

“I can’t afford to gamble; I can’t afford to lose,” he said. “It’s a little bit different because I’m dealing with human lives.”

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