Williams J.


I came to prison in 1989. First timer, was a part of the streets. I liked the streets, so I adapted to the street culture, minor little stuff, you know, fighting. Ended up in prison, scared to death, you know, really scared but came, adapted fast, adjusted to the lifestyle of the prison culture, excelled in it. Went to be a leader inside of prison. Prison itself is like a business organization where you politicking with wardens, lieutenants, you know, to keep the peace amongst the different races and all that.

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I did time at Pelican Bay, like 14 years at Pelican Bay, where I was a father figure to many men, three generations of young Crips. I was their father figure, being the priest, the father, everything that they needed. You know what I’m saying? Because they don’t have, we come from dysfunctionalism, so we lean upon each other.

Fast forward to 2017, been incarcerated up into that point, 27 years, level fours on attempted murder robbery charge, with murder, which is a minimum eligible parole date of 1998. The reason why I’ve been in prison is all my own doing and that’s being a part of a disruptive group. So 2017, we go to the hole because my cellie, who I don’t know, who staff put in my cell, he was in a cell with me for 25 days. Somewhere along the line we get searched. He has weapons in the cell. He has a deodorant container with, I don’t even know, five or six little weapons in there.

Long story short, I get found guilty of this. It blew my mind. During this time, I’m writing amends letters, and I got him over here. I was writing an amends letter to my victim, and my attorney told me on a visit that he didn’t like the letter, he said. He gave it back to me, told me to write another one, to show empathy. So I’m searching for empathy. I thought that my letter was heartfelt from my heart, but apparently he didn’t think this.

So I’m talking to my family, my girlfriend on a visit about it and I’m searching for empathy. I’m searching, trying to write a letter that’s being empathetic towards others, towards my victim particularly. And I kind of had a problem with it and I was trying, but from what a psychologist told me going to that board hearing was that I was, what she said? “I had a grandiose attitude and that I showed little remorse for my victim even though I displayed it out of my mouth.” But all my other characteristics, and I couldn’t, I’m trying to figure all this stuff out because I couldn’t understand it. If I’m saying it out of my mouth and I mean it, why is she saying that?

And I say all that to say this. Empathy, I tried to find empathy. I’ve prayed about it, prayed about it. I’ve talked to my girl Jean about it, and I was kind of lost because I’m thinking that I’m doing the right thing and I’m searching. I’m trying to be the best that I can be as a person. So this situation comes where this dude, well, I find myself in the hole for this dude’s charges of weapons and I don’t even know this dude. I’m not connected with him. I’m not a part of his STG (Security Threat Group) or nothing.

I get on my knees in that hole and I cry like a baby and I pray to God. I pray to God. That was, in a 12 step, my breaking point because I was just totally, I was broken, you know, and I just surrendered my will to God. I prayed to God. In the sense that day, things have changed, my heart changed, and I have the empathy that I prayed for. It just was a beautiful experience. It really is, because since that time I surrendered my will to God, and I surrendered and not try to control things, beautiful things happen.
Throughout this incarceration, I had a change of heart, my heart changed, and now it’s all about being of service to others. I walk around with a business plan. I walk around with a nonprofit business plan, you know, because that’s what I want to do with my life. My life now has purpose. It’s not about me. It’s about giving love. My heart is filled with love. My life is full of experience. I have a pass that made me the best person that I can be. I am blessed. My heart is filled with love, and I am here to be of service to anyone that’s in need. Everybody needs to be loved. So I’m here to help whoever’s in need. Everybody needs to be loved.