William Eric Waters, Senior Director of Jail-Based and Youth Programs at Wildcat Service Corporation, is responsible for transformative mentoring programs and Summer Youth Employment Programs. Prior to joining Wildcat, Eric worked at the Osborne Association where, as an inspirational leader, he spearheaded many significant projects and services. He has over 25 years’ experience in the criminal legal system, working in and out of prisons and jails and on reentry initiatives. For over 10 years, Eric served as a board member of the Coalition for Parole Restoration (CPR), a grass-roots organization “created to inform, organize and bring to light all aspects of the prison industrial complex as it affects communities, families and people in prison.” He conducted workshops to explain the parole process to family members and friends who wanted to assist potential parolees n preparing for parole board appearances and appeals for parole board denials. As part of this effort, he co-wrote and edited an instructional manual, Preparing for Your Parole Board Appearance. He also edited the organization’s newsletter, The Deuce Club. Additionally, he led a parole advocacy team of formerly incarcerated men and women, and had legislation passed for people to be discharged from parole.
Eric has earned awards for his criminal justice work, including the Ralph Bunche Bridge Builder Award, now named the William Eric Waters Bridge Builder Award, and the Esther House Prison Ministry Award. He is the author of four books, including the award-winning epic poem, Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass. He has a master’s degree from New York Theological Seminary and bachelors’ degrees from Albany University and the College at New Paltz.