Beyond the Badge, Community Involvement

Correctional Officer helps others through suicide-prevention organization

Two men stand in front of a sign that says Not OK Project.
From left are Not OK Project founder Eric Meier and Vice President Jason Williams. (Photo taken prior to COVID.)

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

For nearly seven years, Correctional Officer Jason Williams has helped fulfill CRCR’s public safety mission at California State Prison, Sacramento. In his off-time, he volunteers as the vice president of a charitable suicide-prevention group.

For first responders, suicide rates are higher than for those in the general population. That’s why Williams got involved with the Not OK Project, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.  

Correctional Officer Jason Williams and a little boy wearing glasses.
Correctional Officer Jason Williams, with his son, strives to help first responders overcome suicidal thoughts.

“The project was formed in response to the growing number of first-responder suicides throughout the nation. The project offers first responders a third-party entity to contact, providing anonymity from their current department.  It takes a lot of courage to reach out and ask for help,” William said. “In this line of work, people tend to hide behind their pride and think that asking for help is a sign of weakness but asking for help is the courageous thing anyone could do. It’s OK not to be OK.”

At CSP-Sacramento, Williams is a Yard Officer. With his experience at the prison, it’s helped him understand more about mental health.

“My typical job duties include but are not limited to visual observation of the yard, overseeing yard workers, de-escalate mental health inmates, and emergency response within the yard. Having strong communication skills and a clear mind are vital skills to possess for myself and any other officer regardless of their position,” he said.

Williams said the project helps him achieve work/life balance, giving him a chance to help those struggling.

“Volunteering for the project has fulfilled a part of me that was missing,” he said. “Being able to help others is a passion of mine that was not being fulfilled previously. I got involved with the project to help fellow first responders manage and overcome obstacles they may be facing.”

Learn more about the organization at www.notokproject.com.