Spoon Jackson - a Poet in Prison Seeking Redemption
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Stanley “Spoon” Jackson was a young ignorant boy when he made a terribly bad choice and killed a fellow human being in a domestic dispute in 1977. A loss that he and his victim's loved ones always have to live with.
“I have been incarcerated 41 years for murder with special circumstances. I was ten days into my 20th year when comitting the crime. I take full ownership/responsibility of the loss of life. I was lost with no sense of direction, no sense of responsibility and no purpose. I wish I could have travelled another road instead of the one of self destruction and causing another person harm. At first I thought I had no right being alive after I took a life. Remorse did not even go deep enough. The only way I can make amends for what I have done is to be of service for others. I must honor the life I took.”
Spoon turned his life around in prison through remorse, self-examination, re-learning and hard work. He learned to process and express emotions and has developed into a mature, empathic humanitarian with social conscience. He has maintained a clean disciplinary record during his four decades inside prison and he had no previous criminal record. He has no history of drug use or gang affiliations, no SHU (isolation) time.
A petition for commutation was sent to the Governor in 2014 together with many support letters from his wide friend network in many countries.
Spoon has been involved in every kind of positive program prison offered. He discovered himself as a writer in the mid 80s; developed his writing skills through study and hard work; created a writing practice that includes world wide publication; challenged himself in other art forms; became a writing teacher himself – as an aide in education classes at a number of California prisons, in Arts In Corrections classes at CSP-Sacramento, and through formal and informal collaboration with dozens of professors and students in many states and countries. By teaching, he has helped other people discover their own path.
Without seeing an end of his time in prison, Spoon wrote in an article in SF Gate, 2006:
”...ultimately, rehabilitation is always self-rehabilitation. Prison had to offer the programs, and I had to make myself active in these programs and in my own self-directed studies. Self-rehabilitation works. I had to choose to change, which meant to get to know myself and find my niche, bliss and myth in life. I had to till the endless gardens in my mind, heart and soul. I had to become anew, despite being in prison.”
He has a large international audience deeply moved by the wisdom he’s earned during his incarceration. He's had four books published, a memoir “By Heart” written together with his former teacher and mentor, and the poetry book “Longer Ago”. Another two poetry books has been published in Germany, the latest one translated into German. He has written hundreds of articles published in different magazines. His poetry is included in anthologies. He's won six writing awards. He's acted in plays and collaborated with actors and artists from many countries. He and his poetry is featured in four documentaries made by film makers from Sweden, Canada and Germany. He's had poems turned into songs by Ani DiFranco, a Swedish choral group and others.
Currently, Spoon is at Solano state prison level II, the lowest security level possible for a LWOP prisoner. He's active in reporting for the Solano Vision Newspaper, he’s a producer in training for a pod cast, he plays flute for a jazz fusion band, takes part in a Shakespeare acting class, a creative writing class, a Speak Easy class, an International Toast Masters class and has enrolled for college classes. At the same time he's writing chronicles for a Swedish newspaper.
He never gives up, but sees opportunities to continue writing poetry and prose and do work with artists outside prison. In this way he's built a large social network outside which will be of great help and importance for when he can be released.
He has very good offers for re-entry into society, among them a professor at University of California LA that offers housing along with scholarship to UCLA and opportunity to do public speaking.
For decades, Spoon has done everything humanly possible to take responsibility for the life he took. In this effort, he’s made his own life positive and useful. As he says, he can never bring back the life he took. Still, he has given back a great deal through his own hard work and commitment to growth and released, he will be a great assett to society.
Spoon adds: “I'd be honored to discuss my qualifications and lessons learned with anyone, and share realness.”
Please support Spoon Jackson, ask Governor Jerry Brown to commute his sentence.
More about Spoon Jackson can be found at https://realnessnetwork.blogspot.com
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