Jamey Williams

Jamey Williams would say, poetry in his life “Was my escape. It kept me grounded” (Moore 1). The article “Poetry Offers a Path to Redemption” tells about a man named Jamey Williams and his involvement in the Cleanaz gang, in Schenectady, New York. He became actively involved in the gangs drug trade, primarily distributing pot and cocaine. Before he turned 18 he had already obtained a .22, .38 and .357 for protection in his dangerous business. Police began to crack down on the Cleanaz and during a raid; 21 were arrested including Jamey, who was sentenced in prison for gun possession for a minimum sentence of 3 years. Many of his close friends were given lengthy or life sentences for serious crimes including murder. In prison he was quarrelsome and violent lacking anything to vent his frustration. He sought to cure his rage and one night, he listened to a poetry recital on the radio, and has since been writing down his misery and struggles into poetry. After completing his 3 year sentence for good behavior, he worked as a custodian earning just enough to take college courses. He teaches teens in an art program in Hamilton Hills in his free time and still actively writes poetry. Today he has distanced himself from his troubled past, and makes new friends, while remaining aloof from those in jails or living on streets. The article states, “Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said, the few paroled Cleanaz seem to be staying away from drugs and violence.” (Moore 3) Poetry changed Jamey Williams’ life and he continues to spread his message to his community while the Cleanaz gang has disintegrated.

Works Cited:
Moore, Kathleen. "Poetry Offers a Path to Redemption" questkids.net. Daily Gazette, 3 April 2008.