James “Yaya” Hough

Artist James "Yaya" Hough in front of a mural that he helped paint, inside the District Attorney's Office. Photo by Eddie Einbender-Luks.

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James “Yaya” Hough is from Pittsburgh, PA. At age 17 he was charged and convicted of murder. While Hough regrets his actions and now fully understands how precious life is, he also has first-hand knowledge of how punitive and unforgiving the system can be, having served 23 years of a mandatory life without parole sentence. During that time, Hough came to understand the root causes of what led him to prison. He also continued his education to better empower himself and others. Since 2006, Hough has put his artistic talent to work with Mural Arts Philadelphia as a muralist, completing over 50 projects in Philadelphia, State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford and SCI Phoenix. He is involved in Decarcerate PA! and Project LifeLines and seeks to be part of changing the prison system in Pennsylvania and abolishing Life Without Parole. In the summer of 2019, Hough was released from SCI Phoenix. He is now living in Pittsburgh again and making art.

Last updated: Nov 22, 2019