William Outlaw


Citizen Outlaw: One Man's Journey from Gangleader to Peacekeeper

Citizen Outlaw: One Man's Journey from Gangleader to Peacekeeper, a major book from HarperCollins in 2019, is a dramatic narrative account of the life of William Juneboy Outlaw, whose journey from housing-project youth to criminal mastermind to convicted murderer to feared prison shot-caller to award-winning and change-making community advocate represents a vital next chapter in the ongoing conversation about race and social justice.


Praise for Citizen Outlaw

"A fine book about a New Haven gang leader turned gang-outreach officer who, by talking down revenge-minded young men, manages to interrupt the cycle of retaliation."
- The New Yorker

"A quintessentially New Haven story of Outlaw’s renunciation of the violence and errors of his youth, and his inspirational striving toward an almost improbable redemption."
New Haven Register

"Citizen Outlaw is an elegantly written account tackling one of the most important issues of our time — the role of redemption in our justice system and our society. This book offers an unforgettable rendering of a life redeemed."
Jennifer Gonnerman, author of Life in the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett and New Yorker staff writer.

"Citizen Outlaw plunges readers inside the belly of the beast with such searing credibility, you’ll feel you’re there - witnessing a gangland murder, the brutal inhumanity of prison life stripped of Hollywood fluff, and, ultimately, a man’s redemption and call to help others lost on our cities’ mean streets. Brilliantly crafted, Barber has written that rare book that educates, entertains and inspires. Citizen Outlaw is a must read for anyone interested in criminal justice reform and the power of the human spirit."
Pete Earley, author of The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison

"A great book, a great writer."
Paul Bass, The New Haven Independent

"[An] inspirational story of a criminal whose self-reform has brought peace both to him and his city."

"I knew my friend Juneboy Outlaw when he was a gangster in the 1980s. I am so proud of what he has become. Against all odds, he acquired enough spiritual and self-knowledge to go from a gangster to a prisoner to an award-winning peacekeeper and positive force in his community. I cannot recommend enough the book about his life, CITIZEN OUTLAW."
Dapper Dan, Fashion Innovator

"A remarkable story."
Colin McEnroe, WNPR

"A must-read … inspiring. Barber could not have chosen a better subject; Outlaw is smart, charismatic and someone readers will instantly root for."

"An extraordinary book about an extraordinary man. The story of William ‘Juneboy’ Outlaw III is a great American gangster story, told with wit and insight. No doubt Juneboy would have made his mark no matter where he was raised, but his home is New Haven, a city to which he has been, at various times, a curse and a blessing. On the page Juneboy is excellent company, and this account of his life is riveting and unexpectedly moving—a life-and-deaths saga that is also a meditation on the nature of ambition."
Kelefa Sanneh, staff writer, The New Yorker

"What does it mean when the person least likely to turn around his life actually does it? William Outlaw’s story, told by Charles Barber with sensitivity and wisdom and jaw-dropping detail, will amaze and inspire you."
Robert Kolker, author of Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery