By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
As a mother, it was very difficult for Mrs. Jacqueline L. Jackson to agree to the publishing of her heart-wrenching and sad letters she wrote her son, former U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. while he was incarcerated.
The book, created by her son, is titled, “Loving You, Thinking of You. Don’t Forget to Pray.” It is a compilation of letters, poems and writings by Mrs. Jackson with an introduction by her son, who had hoped to have the book published by Mother’s Day.
“These were letters that were written two or three years ago when my son was incarcerated,” she said, explaining she edited and pulled some. “This was to let him know that this was just a stumbling block, a bump in the road and to use this time to thank the Lord for allowing him to be strong enough to endure this level of isolation and to be sure to pray.”
The letters are compelling and insightful and often times give answers to prison reform, like her letter dated May 28, 2013 to Judge Amy Berman Jackson, U.S. District Court, when she spoke of the insurmountable pain she was enduring personally and that of millions of other families whose sons may also be incarcerated.
“I feel the weight of millions of mothers and family members who lack the courage or the opportunity, or the ability to pen their emotions regarding our justice system,” Mrs. Jackson wrote.
“I believe there should be non-violent solutions and remedies for non-violent crimes, which do not require the violence of totally removing a person from his or her community,” Jackson’s mother wrote.
She spoke of the need for restorative justice “that focuses on the needs of both the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or just punishing the offenders.”
Mrs. Jackson explained that restorative justice “is more inclined toward restitution, providing altruistic services within the community affected and monitoring the behavior of the offender.”
Copies of Mrs. Jackson’s book can be purchased Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s bookstore, 930 E. 50th St.