Extremist Ex-Cons Back on the Street

A fresh batch of extremist ex-cons hits the streets

The fiery passions harbored by leaders of the radical right don't usually cool off when they land in prison. "If they had the belief before they went," says Tony Delgado of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, "there's a good chance they're going to have it when they get out."

In fact, the racial tensions and gang wars endemic to life behind bars often just fuel the fire. Rather than being rehabilitated, many extremists only seem to be rejuvenated by their prison experience.

Take Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan cohort of David Duke's. Locked up in the 1980s for plotting to invade the small Caribbean island of Dominica and turn it into a "white state," Black used his incarceration to learn computer skills. He emerged in the 1990s to create Stormfront, the "granddaddy" of racist sites on the Web, and become an even more significant figure in the hate movement.

In 2003 and 2004, several well-known extremist leaders — including the best known of them all, Duke — were released from prison. Whether all these ex-cons will seek to re-establish themselves in the hate movement is uncertain, though a couple of them have already begun their comebacks.

But if they choose to rejoin the world of organized extremism, these men will have little problem picking up where they left off. Hate groups rarely hesitate to welcome racist avatars back into the fold — even those who've ratted out fellow extremists or gone to prison, like David Duke, for ripping off their comrades.

Following are brief profiles of six extremist leaders recently released from prison — along with another one, Frazier Glenn Miller, who had been out for years before he began a surprising resurrection of his racist career in 2004.

David Duke

Dennis McGiffen

Joshua Caleb Sutter

Frazier Glenn Miller

Donald Beauregard

Wallace Weicherding

Todd Vanbiber