"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

Calvin Willis


calvinwillis Convicted of: Aggravated Rape
State: Louisiana
Served: 22 years
Released: 2003
Compensated by State: $150,000
Current Status: Unemployed, living with his wife
Health Insurance: No
Then: In 1981, Calvin Willis was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a rape he did not have anything to do with. He spent the next twenty-two years in Louisiana's infamous Angola State Prison. The dedication of his family and long-time advocate Janet Gregory helped secure DNA testing of the physical evidence in the case. DNA testing excluded Mr. Willis as the perpetrator, and he was set free.

Now: When Calvin Willis finally went home, it was 2003 and home was his grandmother's house where he lived before he was able to afford his own housing. Eventually Mr. Willis was compensated $150,000 by the state of Mississippi but the money wasn't enough. "That money went too fast," he said in a recent interview. "They [the state] knew that but we were in the situation where we had to accept it or get nothing." Now Mr. Willis still struggling to make ends meeet. Physically, Mr. Willis says he can't work manual labor anymore and that he has trouble finding work. "I am tired," he says. "I don't have anything." 

Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

  • Employment, possibly as a truck driver, preferably with medical benefits and not too physically demanding.
  • A competent writer to author his book.
  • An inexpensive lawyer to work with him on the contract rights for a documentary film in which he was featured.