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.