The story of Perrion Roberts is well documented in Season 2 of BET’s American Gangster: Trap Queens. The show follows a number of women who rose to the top of the drug game within their respective jurisdictions and beyond. In the latest season which is narrated by Lil Kim, Perrion Roberts is one of those women.
Robert hails from Huntsville, AL, where she began her endeavors.
The Alabama native was renowned in her home state for helping the community in a number of ways. This included paying rent and bills for those who didn’t have the means, to provide for families who could not afford to have a decent Holiday. It is safe to say she assumed the role of Perrion Claus.
“It hurts me to see other people struggle,” she said.
Unfortunately in 2004, she was sentenced to 21 years on drug-related charges. She received a rare full pardon after serving 2 years. During and after her prison stint, she continued her philanthropic efforts but do so on a larger scale.
She first used her law experience to file a number of lawsuits that led to reforms. Roberts changed how the medical department treated injured or sick inmates. Now it is mandated that they receive proper medical treatment at hospitals. She changed the way prisons treated religion, giving prisoners the freedom to practice their religion of choice. Lastly, she was adamant about the transition of prisoners to being a productive member of society.
“There were absolutely no programs that helped people transition once you come out of prison to get a job that paid more, even though you had felony,” said Roberts. “When we approached these companies, we let them know the benefits of hiring a felon. They could receive tax breaks.”
Perrion adds that prisons fail to provide adequate training for jobs that are in-demand in this day and age.
“What they’re teaching in prison is how to be a flourist. Who wants work with flowers?” she says while laughing. “They’re not teaching you coding or even the business of truck driver.”
The program is set to combat the intention of Alabama’s governor to build more prisons to solve overpopulated prisons. Because Roberts is aware that this is only a money grab for the state, she fights against it with her own initiative. In addition to prison reform, she is gearing up for the release of her upcoming book: Beyond The Dream.
“Dreaming is having perseverance,” said Roberts. Rather than looking back, I use my background as a springboard to the future.”
Beyond The Dream is set for release on February 19. Pre-order are available on her website at www.perrionroberts.com.