She's The Longest-Serving Incarcerated Woman In This State. Why?

Barb-wire fence
Zain Murdock
September 7, 2021

They call her “Mama Glo.” That’s because, during the 50+ years Gloria Williams spent in prison – making her the longest serving incarcerated woman in Louisiana history – she became a mother to other women in the system.

But how did she end up behind bars in the first place?

After Williams’ abusive husband was arrested in 1970, he sent her a threat: get the money for his attorney, or else. So, in 1971, she struck a deal with two partners to rob a grocery store, armed with her son’s toy gun. 

But when her partner killed the store owner, Williams got a life sentence.

Years later in prison, Williams became “Mama Glo.” Her mentorship made her a leader and a mother within the community. She even got a GED, cosmetology license, and 43 certificates under her belt. Even prison administrators advocated for her release!

Although Williams' story is inspiring, what she should have been offered was rehabilitation and protection – without the abuses of prison. This system tries to trick us into believing we need it, but we don't. What we need is to be free.

"She holds herself accountable," said Williams’ son, James Robertson. "She’s a shining star that I will never be able to not see. … I’m going to be there for her."

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