Friday, December 7, 2018

Why I do what I do

Joseph Jackson was held in a prison in Maine for two decades.
He now coordinates the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition (MPAC), a grassroots organization that interacts with the state correction department on behalf of inmates and their families. When asked why he is so passionate about transforming the system that held him captive, Joseph always responds in the same way: I can not go away and leave the people I was with for 20 years in a state of perpetual fear and endless torture.

He does this work thanks to years of study that allowed him to make sense of the unfathomable world that he have lived. It is a world where the abuse is implacable. Liberal studies have helped him to see that time in there is not the only punishment imposed on convicted criminals. The predominant cultural belief which we are all subjected to is that once you make a mistake, you have to pay it forever. Therefore every sentence lasts a lifetime. Our unexpressed reality is that the majority of those we imprisoned are socially destroyed. They often lose everything: their homes, their belongings, their jobs, their partners, the support of their families.

We need to fix our damaged system, added Joseph, we must return to the progressive policies of the past.

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