October 29th, 2014, Troy Williams was released after serving 18 years of a life sentence in San Quentin State Prison. One of the most notable parts about his incarceration is what he was able to accomplish while incarcerated. On that note, Williams has chosen not hide from his conviction. He has embraced it for what it was and positioned his experiences in life as tools that now qualify him as an expert on the issues.
While serving time Williams was able to venture outside the box of inmate and create a media organization inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison. He has worked in some capacity to produce, write, direct, film, edit and/or assist with the organization of almost every video and radio production inside San Quentin in the past seven years. He has co-organized restorative justice symposiums, health fairs, job fairs, numerous self-help workshops, as well as initiated the efforts to have TEDx San Quentin prior to his parole.
Williams has successfully been able to coordinate media, restorative justice, and communication techniques in one of the toughest environments in the world. He has been in the unique position of acting as liaison between inmates, volunteers, community organizations, prison administrators, and outside media organizations. Under his leadership as executive director of San Quentin’s Restorative Justice Roundtable, prisoner participation grew from less than 40 to more than 200.
Williams is co-founder of several life skills, emotional awareness, and financial literacy programs. He has trained many individuals in restorative justice, circle process, effective communication, media engagement, and writing for print, radio, and video from a restorative justice perspective while navigating the bureaucracy of prison politics.
In 2010 Williams founded the San Quentin Prison Report (SQPR). SQPR is a media production company that produces radio and video content inside San Quentin. SQPR programs continue to air in collaboration with KALW 91.7 FM on “Crosscurrrents” on Mondays at 5pm.
On November 12th, 2014, Williams accepted an award for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists on behalf of SQPR and is currently writing as a freelance columnist for the Oakland Post, a radio reporter and producer with the Life Of The Law, and Media Fellow with the Game Changers Project and working in partnership with numerous organizations.
Williams recently formed a limited liability company named Troy Williams Productions and a not-for-profit organization, named Restorative Media, whose mission is to develop transformative stories for social change. Williams passion and life purpose is to empower others and help them find their voice – just as he found his.