by Stanley "Tookie" Williams
"The true stories I've written in this book are my living nightmares. My greatest hope is that the lessons the stories offer will help you make better choices than I did."
Stanley "Tookie" Williams, co-founder of the notorious Crips gang, was a death-row inmate. But in his two decades of incarceration, Williams had become a respected author and activist whose dedication to ending gang warfare in the lives of inner-city children earned him a 2001 Nobel Peace Prize nomination. In this award-winning book which has drawn praise from educators, government leaders, and families alike, Williams describes the brutal reality of being an inmate. He debunks myths of prisons as "gladiator schools" with blunt, riveting stories of overwhelming homesickness, the terror of solitary confinement, and the humiliation of strip-searches. Williams' words are a frank challenge to adolescent readers to educate themselves, make intelligent decisions, and above all, not to follow in his footsteps.
Stanley "Tookie" Williams was on death row at San Quentin State Prison from 1991 until his execution by lethal injection in December, 2005.
Barbara Cottman Becnel has been interviewing Stanley Williams since 1993 and collaborated with him on his numerous anti-gang education projects. She lives in northern California.
Awards and honors for Life in Prison:
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, "Books that Don't Make You Blush" 2006 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers American Bookseller, Pick of the Lists Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Nominee VOYA Nonfiction Honor Book