I hope you all are…

Jackson, Timmy R.



Dear Readers, I hope you all are in good health, spirit and with a peace of mind. For those of you who do not know of my adolescent years, please allow me a chance to share these words with you before you turn this page and never finish reading my thoughts and concerns. My name is Timmy R. Jackson. To some I am known as offender #555103. I was born in 1980 as a statistic and have been a statistic of one kind or another all my life. I was raised by my single mother and her live-in boyfriend who later became my stepfather, in Kennett, Missouri. Some people can remember a lot about their adolescent years, when others recall or remember stories passed on by others. As for myself, I remember a time, but was told I was 8 or 9 years old. At that time I stole a cigarette and beer. Now, ironic as it may seem, I still smoke today. I am not sure if consciously or subconsciously, but I never had the taste for beer or alcohol. Today, I know the mind is a wonderful and powerful thing that knows things that you would not consciously know. With that said, I was told that alcoholism was the result of my mother and step-father splitting up and going their separate ways. What is amazing about that was this: my mind subconsciously took the good from that bad situation because I do not hit women or have the taste or craving for alcohol; the two things that affected my family and household from the very beginning. But, my father and I are working on building a relationship together today. As time went on, I grew older and thought and acted like I was a man. The key words to that are “acted like” because now that I am a man I noticed I was trying to be something that I had no idea how to be. I didn't have anyone to show me how to be a man. There is only so much my single mother could teach me about being a man, so she told me her view of what a man is or should be. So, I took what my mother told me and the little bit of knowledge I had and combined the two; and with some time, I learned what a man is and was. My mother was a great mother. She worked hard to give me and my brother what we needed, Page 1 of 7 taught me right from wrong, and about life and its ups and downs. Yet, I only listened to half of it. I thought I could do no wrong, like so many kids. I was misunderstood by my mother and my peers. By the time I started to settle down and figure out who I was and where I stand in life, my peers were doing the opposite. They rebelled. At the age of 16 I pled guilty to four Class C felonies for stealing and receiving stolen property. I was given four years’ probation in suspended sentence (ISS) and ordered to pay over $4,000 in restitution. At the beginning of that four years I was one kind of statistic or another. I was a teenage dropout and a teenage parent in the same year. I fell in love with a girl and months later she tol.d me she was going to give me a baby girl. Time went on and my girlfriend and I grew in more than one way. We grew as people and also grew farther apart and separated. Then at 19 years old, I fell in love with a long-time friend, and married in April of 1999. At that time I had a third grade reading and writing level. I knew to take care of my family and break the statistics I was born into that I would have to work hard to take care of my family. So I learned how to work with my hands and learned to weld and worked the steel yards around Kennett, Missouri. In January 2002, my wife and I brought another child into this world. She gave me a son who took my name. Armed with the love-of—my-life, daughter, son, decent job, house and cars, I thought we were on our way and holding on tight. At the end of 2002 I was taken off probation after completing 5 years to finish paying my restitution and was moving on with my life. In late 2002 I was introduced to cocaine by a friend and step—dad. Within months my actions and trusting people I thought I could trust, my family was turned upside down. Then suddenly, with one car ride with my step-dad, my life was taken away by circumstances that I could not control at that point in my life. On January 23, 2003, I was charged with First Degree murder. Then, on July 23, 2004, I was found guilty of murder and given life without parole. At that point I was lost to the system at the age of 24. Now, 10 years later at the age of 34, I carry many labels; some good and some not so Page 2 of 7 good. I am a son, brother, father, ex-husband, grandfather, offender, convict and a condemned man doing life without parole. Before all of this, I had never been charged with a violent crime in my life or had been incarcerated. Many mothers and fathers like me fight struggles of one kind or another. One of my hardest struggles from being incarcerated is attempting to maintain a relationship with my children and grandchildren. From what I know of kids, they build bonds and relationships by touch, sound, smell and memory; not just by words. The mothers and fathers behind bars locked in the system are struggling to keep our relationships strong with words. Then, on top of that, in 2006 I found out I had another son that I have not yet had the opportunity to get to know; but I have not given up on that either. I would like to bring your attention to another struggle that I and so many other men and women face: “Death by Incarceration.” There are so many men and women behind bars today, either first-time offenders or young men and women who have placed themselves in a circumstance, knowingly or unknowingly, that they could not or did not know how to control at that point in their lives. Now, our justice system of today has knowingly let our young men and women fall to the wayside and become forgotten and slowly die. “Death by Incarceration” is slow and pointless on all counts. It can be one or two ways: either life without parole or 100, 200, or even 300 years. That is a sentence no man or woman could do. Some people might say it is better than Death Row. But, if you stop and look deeper into it, you would see the evil intent which lies at the very heart of “Death by Incarceration.” “Death by Incarceration” is handed out with no thought of ever, I repeat, ever, giving that person a chance to change his or her life or to be given the chance to prove that they can and want to be rehabilitated and follow the laws of society and help rebuild a better life for themselves, their families and their community they would live in. These men and women are put in a cell and told to follow the rules of the Missouri Department of Corrections to only control us. At that point we have three options: 1. Page 3 of 7 Rehabilitate ourselves. I say “ourselves” because the Missouri Department of Corrections does not rehabilitate. Some will try to become a better person and fight to not become the monster we are labeled as. 2. Try to survive as best we can and not fall victim to the prison tricks or the system we now live in, and, 3. Become the monster that we are labeled as from losing all hope of reality. I for one believe in our justice system if used correctly: to rehabilitate! Not to torment, break, kill or mass incarceration. I also believe there is a better way to help the men and women who are slowly being put to death by incarceration. To take a human being and lock him or her in a cage and throw away the key is cruel and unusual punishment. I'm not saying that our crimes should be forgotten and we should not be disciplined for them, because we should! What I am saying is there has to be a better way than locking us in a cell and not let us prove we can change or, in most cases, have changed; and in others, want to change. Most of us had labels before prison as mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, husbands or wives. Then, once we entered prison we received more labels such as convicts, offenders, murderers, robbers and many more. What most people have forgotten is that we are human beings who love and want to be loved. So, before the keys are thrown away and we are forgotten, allow us the chance to prove we are not the monsters the media, government, Missouri Department of Corrections and some offenders have placed on us. There are a lot of hidden things that the average taxpayer does not know, so allow me to attempt to shine some light on this situation. Let's call this section the “Facts Section”. This information is dated, but still relevant for understanding the cost the government is putting on the taxpayers of Missouri and across the country today: en masse incarceration and enslavement of men and women in the United States for no other reason than for tax profit. In December of 2008 there were 1,610,446 people held in Federal or State prisons and 785,558 people in jails, for a total of 2,396,000 people incarcerated in the United States. There were 7.3 million men and women under correctional Page 4 of 7 supervision of some kind, including probation, parole, Federal and State prisons and local jails. That's one in every Q adults. Men make up 2_3_"_/_g of prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction, and women make up 7_‘Vg. About _3_4_f[g of all sentenced prisoners were white, M were black, and 2_Q_‘Zq were Hispanic. The imprisonment of blacks in the United States is 1&1 men and _lfi_9_ women per 100 000 persons in the U.S. For white prisoners, the rate is E men and E women per lflflm persons. This means black males were imprisoned at a rate 6 % times higher than white males. In other words, blacks represent Qéfi of the total U.S. population, but 314319 of the U.S. prison population, and Q of Death Row. As of January 1, 2009, there were §,._2_9_7 Death Row prisoners. During 2009, 1_1 states executed 52 inmates, Q more than the number executed during 2008. Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the United States, increasing over _5_Q_(_)_"[g since 1970. Black children are nearly nine times more likely to have an incarcerated parent in prison (at &) and Latino children (at 2._6_%_) are more than three times more likely than white children (at _Q_.§‘Zg). About M of mothers in State prisons lived with their children before prison compared to £12/9 of men. What happened to those children? The sources of this information are the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Justice Statistics. What is so astonishing about these statistics is all States will release most of these offenders without rehabilitation. Then there's a big percentage of those offenders who are serving non-parolable sentences or, as they have here in Missouri, life without. This brings me to what I and so many men and women are facing across Missouri and the country: “Death by Incarceration.” As of December 16, 2011, there were 30$ offenders who were incarcerated by the Missouri Department of Corrections. There were _4_6 offenders currently on Death Row. There were LE offenders currently serving life without parole, and E of them were incarcerated as juveniles. There were 73,685 offenders on probation and parole supervision. The daily cost of parole and probation is $5.12 and the daily cost to house and incarcerate an offender is $57.16. In 2012, the law changed for juveniles who were given life without parole. I believe these numbers will surprise and be astonishing Page 5 of 7 to anyone who either pays taxes or who just knows the yearly cost of housing an offender with a life without parole sentence. Just think or do the math with me. If $1 per day is the cost of housing one offender, then it will cost $20,963.40 per year; for 10 years, $209,634.00; for 20 years, $419,268.00; for 30 years, $628,902.00; and 40 years, $838,536.00. That is for just one offender. As referred to above, there were 1,061 offenders in 2011 serving life without parole. What is even more astonishing than that number you just read would be the yearly cost for each and every one of the l,Q_6_]_ offenders. In just one year it is going to cost $22,367,947.80; for ten years, $223,679,278.00; for 20 years, $447,358,556.00; for 30 years, $87l,037,834.00; and for 40 years would be $1,094,717,112.00. I do the math up to 40 years because that is about all any man or woman can do. Now the numbers have increased daily, not just the daily cost but also the number of offenders serving non—parolable sentences and serving life without parole. These numbers do not include over 3_Q,fl)Q offenders who are incarcerated across Missouri or the offenders serving non—parolable sentences. Here is an idea, or my thoughts: I believe that “Death by Incarceration” is taking away from our society and our families across Missouri. Just look at all the cuts that are going on in Missouri and across the country to our schools, police forces, fire departments, homeless shelters and programs to help keep kids off the streets. I am not just saying this because I am one of those serving a “Death by Incarceration” sentence. I am saying all of this because these things affect my mother, my three children and my granddaughters. I think it would help with all these costs and space if life without parole and non- parolable sentenced offenders would have to meet the following criteria: 1. Is not a convicted sex offender; 2. Has no prior felony conviction; 3. Has served at least 15 to 20 years of sentence; 4. Has demonstrated self and rehabilitation efforts while incarcerated such as enrolling and completing an intense program like Intense Therapeutic Community (ITC) that we have here in Missouri; 5. Has exhausted all of offender's appeals in both State and Federal Courts; 6. Has a workable parole plan and Page 6 of 7 availability of community and family support; 7. After these criteria are met, then, and only then, would the offender be eligible for parole. If the board does not grant parole, the offender shall be eligible for a reconsideration parole hearing every three years until a presumptive release date is established. When any offender is released, he or she shall be under the supervision of the board for an amount of time to be determined by the board. With these criteria met, we offenders would have a chance to one day successfully enter society with our families. I know in 2013 the Democratic and Republican parties both sponsored bills: one was House Bill 419; the other was House Bill 1179. They see that the system needs to be fixed and are trying to come up with something. So, I ask if you have read anything here that you have a concern with or support and/or have an idea that could make a change for the better for the families across Missouri and the country, please call or write your Governor, Congressman/woman, or the Representatives of your district; but please just think about this. Thank you for your time in reading this and your support for the families across Missouri and the country. On parting, when there is nothing left of me but my words, I know I am remembered as a man who fought to become a better man for himself, his family, to be a good son to his mother, a good husband, and most of all, be a better father/dad and be by my family's side when it's all over. Your friend within the Struggle, By Timmy Jackson, 9355103 Missouri Department of Corrections Page 7 of 7

Author: Jackson, Timmy R.

Author Location: Missouri

Date: October 24, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 7 pages

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