Because of the COVID-19 situation at the prison, the San Quentin News newsroom has been shut down and staff members have been unable to meet to create new issues. The articles in this online issue were written by incarcerated staff members before the shutdown. This online version of the paper was published with the assistance of former San Quentin News incarcerated staff members, who have been released, and long-time volunteers, plus the support of San Quentin Public Information Officer Lt. Sam Robinson. When the emergency relents the paper will resume coverage.
Javier Jiménez, the San Quentin News (SQN) staff photographer for the last 18 months, ended his eight-year prison journey on March 16 when he became a returning citizen.
“I never thought my criminality would end—and to get a new start while being at San Quentin, it’s unbelievable,” said the returning husband and father of a son.
Jiménez credits SQN with allowing him to “get back in touch with the passion (photography) I have loved for 23 years.”
Jiménez is an example of CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz’s new mission statement:
“To facilitate the successful reintegration of the individuals in our care back to their communities equipped with the tools to be drug-free, healthy, and employable members of society by providing education, treatment, rehabilitative and restorative justice programs, all in a safe and humane environment.”
Before leaving, Jimenez talked with the San Quentin News. The self-taught photographer said, “I feel lucky and, just as important, [I] came through under pressure for the newspaper. I was in the right place at the right time. I knew [previous photographer] Eddie Herena was leaving and knew the editor-in-chief, Jesse Vasquez. I put my resumé in, and it, the resumé, only showed my ambition to better myself and the News team hired me.”
Jiminez reminisced about his favorite photo shoot. “My favorite photo shoot was my very first one—The Queens of the Stone Age. The Warden was there, I met Lieutenant Robinson, and someone said, “Here, turn on the camera.” Smiling, he said, “That’s a lot of pressure.”
The staff photographer shoots two to three hundred shots per event. Jimenez evaluated his own work, saying, “I was not good at first, but have gotten much better with more access to the camera.”
From the artistic side, Jimenez leaves words of wisdom for the next photographer(s). “You’ll get thrown in, so read about the basics and it better flow—either you have the passion to improve in any craft or occupation or you don’t. My improvement came from knowing I was working with a national newspaper that was paying me to learn—and I am getting better because I have that passion to improve.”
One of the mainstays in the SQN office, he stabilized the crew with a daily dose of humor and wisdom from “real talk.” Jiménez looked at every day he spent in the newsroom as “comical—like stand-up comedy,” and left a remembrance of each “family member” of the staff:
- Marcus “Wali” Henderson, editor-in chief, is a “laid back person who loves to write.”
- Juan Haines, senior editor, is the “smooth argumentative grandpa.”
- Kevin Sawyer, associate editor, is “meticulously organized and a great writer.”
- Joe Garcia, the Journalism Guild chairperson, he sarcastically called “the weirdest personal trainer I’ve ever met.”
- David Ditto, circulation manager, is “always looking at the positive aspects of EVERYTHING.”
- Charles Crowe, staff writer, has “an undercover sense of humor I love.”
- Heriberto Arredondo, staff writer, “will have big shoes to fill when Juan Espinosa leaves.”
- Anthony Caravalho, staff writer: “You took a lot of ‘stuff’ from us and you keep coming back—hope to do business with you on the outside.”
- Juan Espinosa, layout designer and leader of Wall City’s Spanish edition, he credits as “the most important representative of the 35-45% of incarcerated Hispanic people. “Juan is my genius brother that claims he is not a genius, but I know better.”
- Richard “Bonaru” Richardson, executive editor, is “my brother with like-minded aspirations who deserves to go home.”
Jimenez’s own aspirations are to live where he can afford to buy land, and to build a nice home for his family while keeping them safe. If he can own a photo studio or fall back on his construction talents upon his return to society, he will be satisfied going home to the family he loves.
Executive Editor Richard Richardson said the news group will depend on Jiménez’s support for photographs from outside stories the group is developing. Currently Jiménez hopes to follow his predecessor, Eddie Herena, who is working with Wall City, while he considers offers to be staff photographer for a local nonprofit called “Through The Bars.”
“To make a living out of my passion (photography) is the most enjoyable thing I was allowed to do in prison, and if I can carry it beyond the walls of San Quentin I would consider myself very fortunate,” said the SQ News photographer. “Hopefully I can continue capturing people’s attention with pictures—that is my goal.
“I remember at DVI eight years ago, I read all about the programs at San Quentin and hoped to get there.” For those aspiring to join the nation’s #1 news outlet on social reform, he added, “I think the paper allows you to hone skills while in prison, especially if you can write. I mean, where else can you be consistently published and be around people who carry weight in the justice system on a daily basis? It’s just unheard of,” said Jiménez.
Monday morning March 16 upon his release, you could have found “Javy” at the nearest taco truck before he went home to continue another passion he has not done for eight years—cooking enchiladas for his family.
Creators of a new Pelican Bay podcast look to build community and prisoner relationships—one story at a time, reported the Lost Coast Outpost. https://lostcoastoutpost.com/
“These guys just want to better themselves and create a stronger, more resilient, community,” said Paul Critz, a journalist who teaches inmate students the tools they need to record their personal stories.
Inspired by San Quentin’s Ear Hustle, https://www.earhustlesq.com/ Pelican Bay Prison’s https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/facility-locator/pbsp/ UNLOCKED became the first of its kind at a security level IV institution.
Created by Critz and about 30 incarcerated men, the podcast aims to bring together the men on the inside and to communicate with the residents of Del Norte and Crescent City.
“They’re Del Norters too, and they’re very interested in hearing from the community. They want interaction. They want to humanize themselves, “ said Critz.
Dubbed as the single most important project in his career, Critz uses a portable recorder, laptop and a hand-held microphone to show his students how to put together a narrative.
While given much room for choosing content, Pelican Bay’s Public Information officer John Silviera advised Critz not to “bash the institution.”
“There’s a lot of gray area all around that phrase,” Critz told the Outpost. “We have to figure out what that means because at what point does bashing your reality become bashing the institution that’s responsible for your reality?”
Critz credits what he calls “The Awakening” as the pivotal moment in Pelican Bay’s history that led to launching the podcast.
“The Awakening” refers to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that shut down Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Units in 2013, following a widespread series of hunger strikes that began at the prison.
Critz’ students chose “The Awakening” as the subject of their first podcast. “They wanted to talk about… the changes that have been happening at Pelican Bay and other prisons as a result.
“The real awakening is hope,” said Critz. “They’re able to think about a future, maybe getting out – certainly even with people who’ll never get out.”
Critz, experienced in freelance journalism and radio, is best known as the operator of Crescent City’s community radio station. He was tapped to head Pelican Bay’s UNLOCKED by Stephanie Wenning, former executive director of the Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness.http://dnaca.net/
Of all the reviews Critz received, “The one that stands out the most,” he told the Outpost, was from the daughter of one of his students.
“I love listening to this podcast. It makes me happy to know my dad is doing something positive with his life. I can’t wait to hear more,” she said.
Be it California or Mississippi, when news of suicides, murders or riots reaches any prison population the feeling is always the same: “damn”—if it’s spoken or not. Especially if you’ve been through it or witnessed these things.
Society might think “there goes those violent monsters acting up again.” What is rarely discussed is that we are a product of the society. Most of us incarcerated and are Americans, and America is filled with double standards (we’ll get to that later) and most of the time breeds intolerance.
Black people and others are still suffering under racism, and we don’t have to go back to slavery to see this. Black people can’t BBQ, sell water or lose cigarettes without the police being called. A Black man was even arrested for eating a sandwich at a San Francisco BART transit station platform. We can’t even sit in our own homes without being shot and killed.
Have we ever talked about collective trauma? It’s not just individuals who suffer. It’s whole communities. Our immigrant community is being detained, and kids are/have been separated from their parents—OK, more trauma. Our President even ordered the assassination of a Iranian general using violence in the name of stopping violence.
Have we been raised to be intolerant against any and everyone who is not like us (on both sides)? Has violence been shown as a way to solve our problems? Is this learned behavior?
We witnessed our President say that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and not get charged. Damn! That’s a criminal threat, or what we incarcerated call a “terrorist threat,” and people in here are doing three to five years, if not a life sentence, for a statement such as that.
During President Trump’s House impeachment trial started by the Democrats—more separation—Trump was alleged to have attempted to strong arm, bribe or leverage—or whatever a good word choice would be (quid pro quo)—to get the Ukrainian president to investigate his rival, excuse me, his possible political opponent, for his own advantage.
Once again, there are hundreds of thousands of people serving long sentences for attempting to do a crime. But what really was most interesting to those incarcerated was how the Republicans, Trump’s “homies” (supporters), kept touting that all the evidence against him was just hearsay. Wait, wait, wait—how many people are sitting in U.S. prisons and jails convicted on hearsay evidence? And I haven’t yet mentioned the venomous call to reveal the name of the whistleblower. Trump’s supporters came just short of calling the confidential informant a “snitch.”
When the smoke cleared Trump was impeached in the House (by his rivals) on “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Justice.”
But, he was acquitted by the majority Republican Senate. Imagine that! a jury of one’s peers. I think most people incarcerated would have loved to have their friends, supporters or homies on their juries. It wouldn’t be hard to guess the outcome.
Now let’s talk about prison violence and reform. When people are sentenced to 800 plus years, what is expected? They have officially written their lives off and wonder what they have to live for or if they will ever see the streets again. Add to that, they are incarcerated in harsh and questionable conditions.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing major changes in California’s criminal justice system by reducing probation to two years and boosting rehabilitation programs for offenders.
Newsom said the change is aimed at cutting costs and reducing recidivism.
He said he proposes spending “an unprecedented amount of money” — $210 million over four years – in rehabilitation programs early in the probation period, where they are believed most effective, The Associated Press reported Jan. 11.
The plan sets probation at a maximum of two years, down from five for felonies and three for misdemeanors.Probation officers support the change but police chiefs are opposed.
Longer probation terms allow officers to search offenders, their homes and vehicles to find drugs, weapons, stolen items or other evidence, said Ron Lawrence, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. According to him, this tends to reduce crimes.
Lawrence said his group opposes changes that would lessen accountability. “Lessening the tail on probation would frankly lessen that accountability.”
Support is voiced by the Chief Probation Officers of California. The group agrees that focusing on rehabilitative services is the best way to help change their behavior and reduce re-offense.”
“The data and the evidence and the science bears out,” Newsom said. “You front load services – those first 18 months are determinative. He said the change was prompted by a major increase in car burglaries following passage of a proposition that reclassified some felonies as misdemeanors.
“This goes directly to the car break-ins, this goes to the petty crime issue, this should be celebrated by the law enforcement community because of the intensity of services we want to provide,” Newsom said.
Longer duration of supervision not only costs money,” he said, “For small petty things you throw people back in the system and that cycle of violence perpetuates itself.”
The reform group Californians for Safety and Justice points out that ten times as many offenders are sentenced to probation than to prison but probation receives only a fraction of the funding.
People who have served time in prison are likely to find many occupational licenses unavailable to them – licenses that are necessary to earn a living.
More than 10,000 regulations can prevent people with criminal records from obtaining licenses, according to an article on Independent.co.uk,
These restrictions make it difficult to enter or get ahead in fast-growing industries such as health care, human services and some mechanical trades. The restrictions often include the very jobs they’ve trained for in prison or in re-entry programs.
“In many states, a criminal record is a stain that you can’t wash off,” said Steven Slivinski, an economist at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University. “There is no amount of studying that can take away this mark on your past if a licensing board wants to use it against you.”
The Sept. 14, 2019 story cites the case of Meko Lincoln, who served time for robbery, assault and various drug crimes. He is in a Rhode Island reentry program where he is training to be a drug and alcohol counselor. He believes his past was not a liability but an asset. “I lived it, I understand it…I can help another person save a life.”
Previously Lincoln relapsed after completing the 90-day training program. As a result, he was convicted of assault, heroin possession, and stealing drugs and sent back to prison. He received a three-year sentence.
“Instead of facing life on its terms, I kind of folded like a lawn chair,” Lincoln said.
While back in prison, he learned to read and write from another inmate. He read the Quran and embraced Islam. In this religion he learned to forgive himself and others. He also participated in behavioral therapy, attending a chemical dependency program. In this program he was inspired to become a counselor as a career. Now, according to the article, he’s living clean, sober and healthy.
“He has the life experience that would allow somebody else to say, ‘Well. if Meko can do it, I can possibly do it too,’ said Amos House Chief Executive Eileen Hayes.
In this program he works as a “peer recovery coach,” earning $25,000 a year and receives advanced training in this program.
“Licensing legitimizes us as somebody,” says Lincoln. “It’s recognition.” It isn’t all about recognition, however. It’s about earning a living. In Rhode Island, Lincoln’s home state, a licensed chemical dependency technician earns $50,000 a year but Lincoln’s drug convictions may make him ineligible.
There’s another side to the issue of public safety. States with the strictest licensing barriers tend to have higher rates of recidivism, according to research by Stephen Slivinski, an economist at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University.
Rhode Island does not officially bar people with criminal histories from being licensed in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and other mechanical trades but they might as well.
Bill Okerholm, an HVAC instructor in Rhode Island, said that the union of plumbers, pipefitters and refrigeration technicians accepts people with records as apprentices on a case-by-case basis. But of the 250 men he’s trained at the prison in the past five years, Okerholm can’t recall a single person who has been licensed after release.
California passed legislation in 2018 that required convictions to be “substantially related” to an occupation in-order to deny a license.
Arrest rates in California are at a record low, declining by an average of 48% from 1995 levels, a recent study reports.
“Overall arrest rates have fallen 26% since before the start of the justice reform era in 2010,” according to the January fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana accounted for more than one-fifths of the decline, approximately 66,000 out of 303,000 arrests.
The most prominent change occurred within the youth, falling by 87% for ages 10-14, 83% for ages 15-17, and 79% for ages 18-19 from 1995 to 2018.
In 2010, the youth arrest rates were 4,445 arrests per 100,000 population and 4,807 adult arrests per 100,000. By 2018, the youth arrest rate had declined to a quarter of the adult rate at 1,113 youth arrests per 100,000 to 3,894 adult arrests.
The figures were released by the California Department of Justice.
By county, 45 of California’s 58 counties report decline in arrest rates, with one-fifths reporting increases. However, all counties except Alpine reported declines in youth arrest rates. Furthermore, “arrest declines are greatest in regions with lower incarceration rates.”
All age groups declined in arrest rates except for those aged 30-39. They increased by 11% from 5,160 arrests per 100,000 in 2010 to 5,714 in 2018.
The author, Mike Males, suggested that this increase correlates with drug overdose deaths and homicides, perhaps warranting “a need for services among Californians in middle adulthood.”
By Alfred King, Journalism Guild Writer
Prisoners are often endangered when natural climatic change disasters such as floods, storms, hurricanes or extreme temperatures occur, The New Republic reports.
Prisoners are “literally on the front lines” of climate change problems, the story said.
This includes families fleeing climate change in the Latin America, who are detained and separated into immigrant detention facilities, the story said. It also includes Black, Brown and poor White prisoners held in toxic prisons, said Jay Ware, organizer and prison abolitionist.
“Every single day is a climate, weather and environmental related disaster for people in prisons,” a member-organizer of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, told the magazine. The source requested anonymity.
Inmates routinely labor in sweltering fields in Texas, fight wildfires in California for pennies or are trapped in the path of hurricanes when prison officials refused to evacuate them, the Sept. 18 story said.
The Sabin Center on Climate Change at Columbia University issued a report in 2015 saying, “Rising temperatures and increasingly harsh extreme-heat events will jeopardize the health of inmates and correctional officers alike and will stress the physical plant of the correctional sector.”
Thousands of U.S. prisoners are housed in areas where the temperatures exceed 100 degrees but have no air-conditioning, the story noted.
In Texas where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees, only 30 of 109 prisons have air-conditioning. Twenty-two people died over the past 14 years in Texas as a result of extreme heat, the story said.
Cold also presents problems. Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center left prisoners without heat or light in February 2019 for about a week, according to the article.
Visitors to the facility which included New York representatives and city officials, called it a dark, cold, miserable place. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it “a violation of human decency and dignity,” reported The New Republic.
The story reported these documented cases of how climatic disasters negatively impact prisoners:
–Prisoners were left in waist high water during Hurricane Katrina.
–During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Texas left 3,000 prisoners without food or water for days.
–Prisoners in the evacuation zone on Florida’s coast in 2018 were left to fend for themselves when Hurricane Michael hit.
–In South Carolina during Hurricane Florence, the state declined to evacuate 1,000 inmates, and two mentally ill women inmates drowned when their prison transport was swept away by the storm.
Even when inmates survive a storm, the aftermath can be deadly; diseases like cholera, E Coli, dysentery, spread through the prison environment, the article stated.
Laverne Shoemaker overcame what some prison reform activists call “a living death sentence.”
“I am a ‘DROP LWOP’ advocate. I will not ever stop advocating for LWOPs and lifers. LWOP is a ‘Death
by Incarceration sentence,’” said Shoemaker. “When you are given that sentence, what they are saying is, you are irrelevant, you’re irredeemable, you’re beyond redemption. And that’s just not true.
“Look at me. I have 19 arrests, 16 convictions, three prior prison terms and the fourth was the life crime of murder. Sure it took over 10 years, but I did change. Now I’m a taxpaying citizen. We are all capable of transformation,” she added.
The Shumate fellowship highlights the life and legacy of Shumate, who suffered from sickle-cell anemia. She died in prison. Her supporters say her death was due to negligence on the part of the California prison system. Shumate was one of the founding members of CCWP. She was a lead plaintiff in the 1995 lawsuit that challenged California’s women’s prisons health care system. She also helped start The Fire Inside, the organization’s newsletter.
“I was blessed to live with this woman as a roommate. I was fortunate enough to see her in her high highs and her low lows,” said Shoemaker in correspondence with SQ News. “I saw her in action and witnessed her determination to make a change. She was famous for saying ‘It’s not a me thing; it’s a we thing.”
Shoemaker was resigned to living out her life in prison. But she credits Shumate for being one of the inspirations who helped to educate her about the need to stand up for the rights of everyone inside.
“In the beginning I did what most did. I jumped right into the criminal elements inside. I got involved with the prison politics. I racked up many 115’s (disciplinary write-ups) and SHU (administrative segregation) terms,” said Shoemaker. “I had seen people change and grow. But I had two dilemmas: one, I didn’t think change was possible for someone like me, and two, I didn’t know ‘why’ I should change.”
Shoemaker’s change came when she started being honest with herself and addressing all her childhood traumas.
“I began to see a human with value and worth under all the tarnish,” said Shoemaker. “The LWOP was not a factor. In all actuality, receiving the LWOP sentence saved my life. The truth is I was a very dysfunctional, unstable substance abuser.
“I was very dangerous and an extremely violent individual. But after a few SHU terms I changed my thought process. I went from I don’t care if I live or die and I’m a piece of sh#*t anyway to…..It doesn’t really matter ‘where’ I die, in the free world or prison, I’m still going to die,” she continued.
What began to matter to Shoemaker was what type of person she was going to be and what her quality of life would be like.
“My motto became, ‘When shall I live if not now?’” she said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever get out. So every group, program, workshop facilitating, curriculum I created was for me and my community. Not for anyone else.
“I definitely learned who I was and who I am today. I’ve grown and learned the impact that we have on our victims and communities,” said Shoemaker. “I learned that by taking a life I have committed the most serious crime of humanity.
“I’ve learned that changing my behavior is the only acceptable atonement. Living today and every day for your victims is not just words you tell the BPH (Board of Parole Hearings).
That is what you have to you live by,” she added.
Shoemaker shared her re-entry experiences and goals for her fellowship.
“What I see is that we (lifers) are impatient and want to hit the ground running. We think we have the formula that we know it all,” she said. “I get it—we have sat decades and planned what we wanna do. But the hard truth and the reality is this is a different world.
“I began to see a human with value and worth under all the tarnish,”
“We need to take it one day at a time. The adjustment period is tough. We are new to the free world. The technology alone is mind-blowing. Some days I feel like a refugee. I guess the hardest part of being out is missing being back inside.
“Most will read this and think I’m crazy. But it’s true while inside you spend all your time thinking about freedom, but when you’re out here you spend a considerable amount of time thinking about back inside,” she added.
Shoemaker knows and understands her responsibilities. She is in the process of creating a curriculum for the LWOPs.
“I will spend my last breath advocating for the LWOPs,” she said. “We are always left behind, overlooked, or at the bottom of every list—that is, if we even make the list at all.
“Yet we (LWOPs) are the pillars of the prison communities, we are the glue that holds the yards together.”
Her plans and goals for the fellowship are to honor her friend Shumate and not stop or back down.
“Charisse didn’t just com- plain or just file a grievance—no she went up against a system. And she got that system to listen. She made a difference,” she said. “She left some pretty big shoes to fill but I think collectively together we all can fill them. I promise to do her name justice!”
Ear Hustle cofounder has lasting impact on his community – both inside and out of prison
Williams said he “can’t fathom” what it’s like to be outside prison. “The sad reality is there are people in here that I may never see outside these walls.” He said he’s leaving with a heavy heart.
“A big part of who I am stems from the people in here,” said Williams. “All of you have shaped who I am. You guys have been my family.”
“I grew up in prison,” he added, “ and I don’t know what my life is going to look like without it.”
Most of the men at San Quentin know Williams by the moniker “Banks,” a name given to him in the Los Angeles county jail by other prisoners who thought he was arrested for robbing “banks” because his bail was set at $7.3 million.
“I couldn’t bail out,” said Williams, convicted of one count of robbery, but with a gun enhancement.
Williams told a gather- ing of admirers in the San Quentin Media Center the day before he walked out: “I’ve been in this place longer than I’ve lived in any place my entire life.”
Tears flowed and emotions ran high as the men, volunteers and staff shared their stories of how they came to know Williams and their working relation- ship, friendships and bonds formed over the years.
Brian Asey first met Williams in 2011 when he transferred to San Quentin from Old Folsom. “I watched (Williams) grow from the hot-headed, emotional, hard person that he was to the mature and thoughtful man that he is today,” said Asey.
“I grew up in prison and I don’t know what my life is going to look like without it”
“It’s been amazing, and when I think about him leaving, I think about all we’ve gone through to put the pod-cast together,” said Sacramento State Professor Nigel Poor, a volunteer, co-host and co-creator of Ear Hustle. She said Williams was part of the creative influence and now that he has paroled, “I don’t know who’s going to be that creative person.”
Williams, like the other men who work in the media center, started out as a volunteer when there was little opportunity. “You have to gently fight your way into the media center and make it work, but there’s a camaraderie,” said Poor. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the media lab will be changing as more and more people get out.”
“I hope that (Williams) works with young people,” said Poor. He can inspire them, she said, adding, “I feel like that’s his calling.”
“When my specific tal- ents weren’t needed, people kept telling me I need to be there” (in the media center), said Williams, so he stuck it out by providing artwork and music, while keeping the workplace positive with his easy-going personality.
“He made this prison a better place and now he’s going to make this world a better place,” said Rahsaan (New York) Thomas, co-host of Ear Hustle. He described Williams as “talented and humble.”
“Banks (Williams) is like the talented little brother that I never had,” said Greg Eskridge, an inmate who volunteers at SQ Radio. “We all started this radio program together in this little room.”
Williams was sentenced to 15 years. He served 13 years, eight of which were at San Quentin, where he arrived on November 8, 2011. He left Old Folsom for San Quentin as a result of Assembly Bill 109, California’s plan to reduce its prison population. A number of San Quentin inmates had been moved to county jails. After his arrival, Williams met Earlonne Woods, the other Ear Hustle co-founder, who paroled last year.
Before his last day in prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) public information officers Alexandra Powell and Ike Dodson arrived to videotape Williams. They planned to video him parol- ing the following morning as well.
“A big part of who I am stems from the people in here. All of you have shaped who I am. You guys have been my family”
“We’re here to capture Antwan’s (Williams’) experience as he prepares to leave prison,” said Powell. “We’ve been trying to tell stories of both those in prison and the people that make programs work.”
Powell said the CDCR is very interested in what pro- grams work inside of prison to influence successful reentry back to society.
Williams said it’s not the groups, programs or self- help groups that make San Quentin though. He said it’s the men that make it a “community.”
Dodson said he got to know Williams the first time the CDCR’s Office of Public and Employee Communications came to San Quentin to cover a story about Ear Hustle.
“I thought it would be cool to share that story,” said Dodson. “When you get to know people inside, you build a relationship. This is a very important moment for Antwan.”
“Anybody would miss where they’ve grown up,” said Poor, who teaches art at the Sacramento campus, in reference to Williams spending so much of his adult life in prison. “I hope (paroling) will be everything that he dreams it to be. It’s going to feel empty when I come to work tomorrow.”