East Mississippi Staff Help Spark Change in Resident Michael Williams’ Life

“The most important thing that I’ve learned at East Mississippi and the duration of my incarceration: Don’t break the law. Obey the law. And to treat others as you would have them treat you.”

Michael Williams has been a resident at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian, Mississippi, for the past 14 years.

“I’ve learned you have to learn how to change,” he says. “You can’t stay the same. You can’t be the same you were five or ten years ago.”

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Michael Williams, resident, studies in his dorm.

We asked Michael about how he’s been treated at East Mississippi.

“There are staff here that care,” Michael explains. “They show it. I think the compassion is what’s needed when you’re dealing with individuals in this state that we’re in – understanding and compassion. There are staff who have compassion.”

Fernekia Brown is Michael’s sister. “I feel like they care about him, they seem like they care about him. He respects them.”

“When I come, they are very nice, loving people,” says Michael’s mom, Beverly Williams. “I remember back a while when I came, the warden walked all the way around to everyone and how nice he was to us as the visitors. Very nice. You know, they are nice.”

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Beverly Williams, Michael’s mom.

“When I roam the facility, I go from pod to pod [and] I sit and listen to inmates,” says Warden Donald Jackson. “Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes for one, but I actually sit down and listen to them, and try to assist them in whatever issue they may have. I talk to parents. Every parent that calls here for me, I speak to them.”

“I have grown as an individual and as a person since I’ve been here the 14 years,” Michael states. “I’ve changed for the better.”

“This place, I think, has humbled him,” says Fernekia. “It’s humbled him to where he has – when he speaks, he speaks with intelligence. He speaks with bravery.”

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Fernekia Brown, Michael’s sister.

“There’s a glow about him,” Beverly says, smiling. “And he’s so happy. A lot of people respect him. I love to hear that. And I think he’s doing well. He’s doing real well.”