BOOKS: In the Place of Justice--A Story of Punishment and Deliverance

Wilbert Rideau, a former death row inmate in Louisiana who has since been released from prison, recently published his memoir, In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance. Rideau was sentenced to death at the age of 19 for killing a woman in panic during a botched robbery attempt. While on death row, he underwent a transformation and, after his sentence was commuted to life, he became the editor of The Angolite, an award-winning prison magazine that exposed abuses in the correctional system by guards and inmates at Angola Prison. Several wardens vouched for Rideau's rehabilitation, and decades later, his case was reopened. In 2005, he was found guilty of manslaughter and released with time served. He now resides in Baton Rouge with his wife.  He was recently interviewed in Mother Jones Magazine.  When asked why it took so long to be released despite support from wardens and parole officers, Rideau said it was, "Because they made me a political football. And whenever that happens, it's difficult for any prisoner to get out … the only reason I got the help I got was because I was high-profile and won awards. Otherwise, I would have been just like a lot of the other guys: alone, trying to deal with the system."

This is an extraordinary book.” -Ted Koppel.

("The Inside Scoop," Mother Jones, May/June 2010; W. Rideau, "In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance" Reed Elsevier (2010)).  See more Books on the death penalty.