Memoirs of Former Prison and Journalist on KAZI Book Review August 22
The second segment of KAZI Book Review on August 22 will feature an interview with Wilbert Rideau, author of In The Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance. Rideau spent forty-four years in Louisiana prisons including 12 years on death row after killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery.
Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he joined the inmate population of the infamous Angola penitentiary. Soon Rideau became editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.
In his book Rideau brings to light Angola’s unique culture, encompassing not only rivalries, sexual slavery, ingrained racism, and daily, soul-killing injustices but also acts of courage and decency by keeper and kept alike. Despite the environment Rideau began a remarkable rehabilitation that allowed him to live an incredibly productive life.
In the Place of Justice goes far beyond the confines of a prison memoir, giving us a searing exposé of the failures of our legal system framed within the dramatic tale of a man who found meaning, purpose, and hope in prison.