Q1 BM - Haneef Nelson

Life In Prison by Stanley “Tookie” Williams, is very inspiring. This point of this book is to educate the youth of the reality of of prisons and what prison life is actually like. Mr.Williams was on death row when he wrote and published this book, he was on death row due to his gang involvement and four murders during two separate robberies. After writing this book and a few others and having a movie made about his life, Stanley was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his literature and his attempts to reach out to troubled youth. Which caused a controversy because people didn’t appreciate that a man on death row, that has done hundreds of horrible things in his life, is now trying to right his wrongs and is being praised for it.

The Bloods and Crips are the two most notorious and dangerous street gangs on the streets of California. Yet not everyone knows the beginnings of these two group nor their intentions. The Crips were Originated in Los Angeles California in 1971. The groups original purpose was to join together and fight against the neighborhood gangs that were bullying them. Self Defense was the motive, the motive was never to be the bully it was to fight against the bullies, although that’s what the group which became a gang evolved into. Stanley Williams is a cofounder of the notorious street gang. In the preface of this book he speaks on his lack of good influences growing up in a predominately African American neighborhood, all of the people he had to look up to were bad role models and were in jail. Those “role models” gave false depictions of jail on how it was fun and cool so that’s what a young Stanley and all of the other children wanted for their lives. So in this book he is attempting to give the youth what he was not given when he was their age. Each chapter of this book speaks on a different part of the Incarceration system, and how inhumane and dangerous jail really is.

After reading this book and viewing his other work I understand why he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, he’s done horrible things in his life, and he acknowledges it but what makes him special is, he wants better for everyone else. I love this book because it does not sugar coat anything, and it gives straight facts. Unlike television and movies which portray prison as dangerous but also as fun, as a place you can go lounge around and workout. Throughout this book he refers to the freedoms you have as a free man and where you’re living with your parents compared to living in jail. An example being the section about “Clothing, Telephone, and Mail”, he says “Our mail is read by guards… I can’t stand knowing that some stranger is reading every letter and looking at every photograph that comes in the mail before I do.” I believe the purpose of this book is to inform the world of the harsh conditions of jail but to tell and show youth headed there that it isn't where they want to be. People who would love this book are prison reformist. This book points most of the flaws in the prison system and how it is designed to keep the inmates coming back. In this book Mr. Williams basically says when you’re in prison you either workout, you read and learn, is crazy, or is apart of a gang. The only thing people have in jail to better themselves to try and prevent their re entry to jail after their release is to read books, and even books are limited in jail if you don’t have family members who care enough to buy them for you. Stanley “Tookie” Williams was executed on December 13th, 2005. The last day he spent alive he told Ms. Barbara Becnel about how he although he lived all those years in that concrete cell on death row, his work with the youth provided him with joy inside his heart.This book should be an inspiration to all youth to stay out of trouble.

This book is nonfiction and was first published in 1998 by Morrow Junior Books a division of William Morrow and Company, INC., New York and then was again published in the United States in 2001 by SeaStar Books. This book is a fairly quick read it contains 80 pages of the horrors of what awaits inside prison walls.