My name is Willie Morris Clay II, an Oakland California native, 51 years of age, and have been incarcerated since April 27, 2009. After my son was murdered, my life was also in jeopardy, which resulted in me killing a man while protecting myself and my family. There is so much more that lead to my victim’s demise, which I am truly remorseful for and will share at another forum, but for now I would like to focus on my redemption. Although, the unfortunate outcome of that tragic incident left one man dead and me with a life without the possibility of parole sentence.
I am a proud father of twelve children – three of whom are deceased – and a soon-to- be husband to my fiancé Tonya D. French-Clay, and I strive to be a positive role model to both of them, assist others and
my community in any shape or fashion. It has been a spiritual, as well as a personal, journey seeking redemption as I reflect and expound on my shortcomings with the younger individuals that I encounter on a daily basis. I have taken on the title of a Mentor, and I live by that in the Lifeline for Youthful Offenders Program which is a subsidiary of the L.W.O.P. (Lifers With Optimistic Progress) support group, to which I am a member of the steering committee.
Taking on these responsibilities did not happen overnight. It started in September of 2013 when I took Restorative Justice in San Quentin. Then in Centinela, I enrolled in Coastline Community College as a major in the Introduction to Business; I also received a certificate in the “Path to Peace” Program. I have benefited and grown the most with CSP Solano’s Rehabilitative programs. I am currently enrolled in Restorative Justice for a second term; participating in the facilitator’s course to become an In-Building Self – Help Program Facilitator; and I am a Facilitator/Coordinator for the Lifeline for Youthful Offenders
To measure the potential for public safety, public safety implications of life-sentences, it is valuable to examine the behavior of life – sentenced prisoners who are still incarcerated; the behavior of people in prison is likely to be productive of their behavior on release. Research literature is replete with support for the perspective that persons serving life sentences are some of the easiest prisoners to manage because of their compliance with prison rules and their interest in mentoring newer prisoners in positive ways. (See: http://www.sentencingproject.org/issues/sentencing-policy/ )
The aforementioned analysis of The Sentencing Project speaks to the values, principles and goals that – Lifers With Optimistic Progress seeks to overcome and accomplish. In addition, I would like to personally thank a true abolitionist and civil rights advocate of prison reform, whom actually contributed as a primary component of today’s changes in the judicial system across this country – the Renown Attorney/Author of: – The New Jim Crow – “Mass Incarceration In the Age of Colorblindness”,
by Michelle Alexander.
Willie Morris Clay II, CDCR AR3562