Professor Interviews Former High-Profile Gang Member


Professor Interviews Former High-Profile Gang Member
Professor Reese (left) interviews Will Fields in the MediaVision studio.
Fields authored a book titled “House of Failure.”

Political Science professor Renford Reese recently interviewed Will Fields, aka “Trey Devil,” a former high-profile gang member from Los Angeles.

The filmed interview is a candid conversation about the clash of cultures Fields faced as a bright child bussed into a wealthy neighborhood for school while living in a crime-ridden area where many children were jumped into gangs before reaching high school.

“Teased in his 'hood for acting 'white,' Fields turned to a vicious life of crime,” Reese says.

Reese, who has done extensive research and writing on the criminal justice system, met Fields about three years ago at Centinela State Prison in Imperial while Fields was serving time on three counts of attempted murder relating to gang activity. Reese regularly lectures at prisons and often times mentors inmates like Fields to help them prepare themselves for better lives when they are released.

While incarcerated for six years, Fields underwent an intellectual and spiritual transformation – focusing on becoming more disciplined, enlightened and productive, Reese says. Fields, now 26, was released about a month ago.

“Will is a brilliant reflection of an American paradox,” Reese says. “He is thoroughly engaging and refreshingly analytical about the variables that have impacted his life.”

On Jan. 12, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Mission Promenade in downtown Pomona, Reese will be signing copies of his most recent book, “American Bravado.” Fields will also be signing copies of his book “The House of Failure,” which he wrote in prison.

The book signings are part of an event to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will be in conjunction with the Second Saturday Art Walk in the Pomona Arts Colony. The Cal Poly Pomona Jazz Ensemble will be performing. The Mission Promenade is located at 101 W. Mission Blvd., Pomona.

Proceeds from Reese's book signing will go to the Cal Poly Pomona Black Faculty and Staff Scholarship fund.  

To see Reese's interview with Fields in Cal Poly Pomona's MediaVision studio, visit https://video.cpp.edu/RRReese/PrisonRace-245.asx.