Will This Prisoner Die in Solitary Confinement or in His Dream House?

By Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones
July 8, 2013

New Orleans artist Jackie Sumell has made a career out of building a house for a client who may never live there. There are a few other hitches: He can’t pay her. He’s not great at visualizing big spaces. His demands are at once idiosyncratic and utterly ordinary: a bear rug and mirrored ceilings, a garden and a pool. He’s very slow on correspondence. But for Sumell, it’s deeply rewarding work, emotionally if not financially. “I have an amazing life because of this project,” she says. Sumell’s client is Herman Wallace, a member of the inmate crew known as the Angola 3 who has been held in solitary confinement for 41 years and counting, for a conviction based on highly questionable evidence. (That included witness testimony from jailhouse informants who had been promised special privileges, including two who have since recanted and one who was legally blind.) More …

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