Life in Prison Life in Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Williams...consistently denied killing Owens.

March 11, 1979 --...three of Williams' friends -- all with criminal histories and motivation to lie, Williams says -- testify that he confessed to the killings. A ballistics expert links a shotgun shell at the motel to Williams' gun. Williams has also steadfastly maintained his innocence in the Yang killings.

1981 -- Williams is tried and convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of all four murders, plus...sentenced to death. He arrives at San Quentin's death row on April 20.

1987 -- Williams is placed in solitary confinement for 6 1/2 years after committing a string of violent incidents behind bars, including assaults on guards and other inmates.

1988 -- the California Supreme Court affirms Williams' death sentence, and he files his first federal appeal to the U.S. District Court.

1996 -- Williams, with co-author Barbara Cottman Becnel, publishes the first of a series of anti-gang books aimed at children, Gangs and Wanting to Belong.

April 1997 -- Williams writes an apology for his role in creating the Crips street gang. "I am no longer 'dys-educated' (disease educated). I am no longer part of the problem. Thanks to the Almighty, I am no longer sleepwalking through life," Williams writes.

2001 -- Williams publishes a memoir of his years behind bars on San Quentin's death row. He says the tone of the book is intended to warn kids away from following his life of crime. "To get a feel for what it's like to live in a prison cell, test yourself," Williams writes. "Spend ten hours -- nonstop and alone -- in your bathroom." Williams is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Oct. 11, 2005 -- the U.S. Supreme Court denies Williams' petition for writ of certiorari, which asked the high court to review the lower court rulings in his case.

December 2005 -- the California Supreme Court rejects a request to reopen Williams' case because of allegations that shoddy forensics connects him to at least three of the shotgun murders.

Dec. 12, 2005 -- Gov. Schwarzenegger denies Williams bid for clemency. In a written statement, he says: "The facts do not justify overturning the jury's verdict or the decisions of the courts in this case."

Dec. 13, 2005 -- Williams is executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison. (Tookie's Path, 2005)

In his review of Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About it, Stovall (2001) notes that Terry a. Kupers, M.D., this book's author, presents a debate regarding prison reform and "offers proposals to lessen the dehumanizing aspects of prison life that may lead to mental illness among inmates." This writer's position regarding the dehumanizing aspects of prison life concurs with that presented by Kupers, as well as, with Williams. This writer argues, albeit, that along with prison reform, something more needs to be done to counter youth entering what Williams describes as a living nightmare and what Kupers describes as factors that may lead to mental illness. Perhaps, this writer proposes, society needs to invest more aggressive means to help inmates and youth learn how to be mentally healthy. Perhaps, youth need to be taught more how to have fun doing what is right.

Ultimately, this writer felt a nauseating feeling in the gut after reading: "...Stanley Tookie Williams. Williams, co-founder of the Crips' gang, was executed at San Quentin State Prison early Tuesday." (Evelyn, 2005, p. A18) the thought came to mind, Such a waste of a life, so potentially full of promise. Then, on second thought, perhaps Williams life was not such a waste. Williams made the choice to try to "undo" some of the wrong that youth perceive about prisons. He chose to try to warn young people not to choose the life he live...that if they do, in time, they too will learn that it is not " to live in prison."


Stovall, Jeffrey, M.D. (2001, March). Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About it. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved December 8, 2007, at

Nieves, Evelyn, (2005, December 14). "Schwarzenegger Clemency Denial Called Politically Safe." Washington Post, p. A18, Retrieved December 8, 2007, at tml

Tookie's Path to Death Row." (2005, December 13). Retrieved Decembe 9, 2007, at's Path to Death Row

Williams, Stanley, with Becnel,…

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