Ex-Convict Strives to Steer Teens Away from Criminal Careers

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– For more than 30 years off and on, Williams Graves didn’t see life beyond Arkansas prison walls. 

“Cummins, Tucker, Varner, Brickeys,” William Graves, with G.H.E.T.T.O. L.O.V.E, said.

He wore his first jumpsuit at just 15 years old.

“I’m trying to stop the young people from being in that position,” Graves said.

The young suspects arrested this week in the shooting death of two-year-old Ramiya Reed, now facing an early start in prison themselves. Their mug shots show the progression of young career criminals.

“What would it take for you all to lay all weapons down and turn your back on violence?” Graves said.

Graves now using his hard time to help guide youth away from the same path.

“They all say the same thing… jobs,” Graves said.

The former inmate turned mentor says it comes down to a choice for teens.

“I’ve applied for different jobs, I want to do it the right way but they won’t let me do it the right way, or they’re not going to let me do it the right way, then I’m going to do it the way that I know how to do it,” Graves said.

He and half a dozen of his friends now hoping to help them with employment, making money the right way.

“I want to have jobs securely in my pocket, so that I can say look here, take this card, go to so and so’s place, tell them Uncle Willy sent you and you’re going to be hired,” Graves said.

Graves knows the temptations are out there. 

“I wanted to join a gang,” Graves said.

Speaking from experience is what he says will make a dent and hopefully a difference.

“I got to go in compromising, showing respect and talking to them in a manner in what they undersand,” Graves said.

 

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