Capital Defense Consultant

Wilbert has been a consultant to both federal and state capital defense teams on dozens of cases around the country. He has an excellent track record of helping attorneys resolve their problems with uncooperative defendants. To learn more go to the Capital Defense Consultant page.


Wilbert has lectured at universities, legal seminars, national and international conferences, and at meetings of organizations that advocate for the reform of the criminal justice system and against the death penalty.  To learn more and listen to Wilbert speak, go to the Lecturer page.


Honors for In the Place of Justice: A story of punishment and deliverance


  • Dayton International Literary Peace Prize, Winner 2011, Nonfiction.  Watch Wilbert's acceptance speech: 
  • Gold Dagger Award, Crime Writers Association (UK), shortlisted 2011
  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Honor Book 2011
  • San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate), Best 100 books of 2010
  • Barnes & Noble, selected for showcasing in "Discover Great New Writers" 2010




  • New York Review of Books: "A richly detailed [and] all too rare look at life behind bars."
  • San Francisco Chronicle: "Perhaps no book written by an inmate has ever conveyed so much factual and emotional information about day-to-day prison life."
  • Vanity Fair: "A series of stunning journalistic revelations. . . . Quite simply, no prison memoir in recent memory contains prose as deft or as riveting."
  • New York Times: "[P]acked with incisive details. . . . His account of life in Angola is an important one, especially in light of the dearth of good American prison writing in recent years."

Wilbert Rideau

Lecturer, Capital Defense Consultant, Author



Wilbert has been writing about the American criminal justice system and the prison system for four decades and has won numerous major awards for his work, including a George Polk Award for an investigation into prison rape and enslavement, Robert F. Kennedy Award for covering the plight of the disadvantaged, and the first American Bar Association Silver Gavel ever awarded to a prisoner, for exposing longterm inmates lost in the prison system.  While in prison he co-edited two anthologies, one still in use today in criminal justice courses in Louisiana.


After his release from prison in 2005, Wilbert penned a memoir, In the Place of Justice. It chronicles his personal transformation during his four decades in Angola and the evolution of the prison during that time from the nation's bloodiest to one of the safest.  Now, he writes on subjects as diverse as the death penalty, solitary confinement, censorship, race in the South, Civil Rights figures, and faith.  To learn more and read a sampling of his writings, go to the Author page. 

To read a sample from the book, or to purchase it