Born in Queens, New York, Ha’son was raised by a loving single mother and his aunt, who instilled in Ha’son a deep respect and love for the women around him. He was known for having a good sense of humor, being down-to-earth, genuine, and loyal to his friends. In high school, he was an outgoing and intelligent young man who enjoyed sports. 

In prison, Ha’son has continued to make an impact on those around him, forging lifelong friendships and exploring his passion for poetry. He has taken every job available, working as a certified electrician, a COVID-19 sanitizer, a chef, a barber, a gym director, and a referee.

Ha’son has taken advantage of countless rehabilitation
and mentorship programs:

He taught classes and served as a mentor for the Olive Tree Initiative, a program centered around preparing incarcerated men to become successful returning citizens. Ha’son also participated in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Program, helping lead class discussions, recruit students, and teach life skills to other incarcerated individuals.

“By going through the RSAT program I've learned that each and every person's story is unique and about the need for continuous discipline and accountability. I have gained leadership qualities, and had the ability and opportunity to help mentor a few of the men to overcome their addictions and seek positive alternatives in compromising situations.”

Ha’son Cleveland 

Ha’son was also a part of the Scared Straight Program, an initiative which seeks to deter recidivism among juvenile offenders by connecting at-risk youth with mentors in adult prisons. In this program, he gave prison tours and mentored visiting youth, sharing about his time in prison to help guide young people toward a more positive path.