Twice in the last few days I've been hit in the head, heart and spirit with the fact that no prisoner have ever had an LWOP (Life without the possibility of parole) sentence pardoned in California. Pointed out over and over again that it's a hundred percent negative trail, a vast waste land and dust bowl. No one in the history of commutation has accomplished that task. An answer of no even before the petition has been filed or read. Like a publisher sending back form letters for unsolicited manuscripts.
I have always known that no LWOP have ever received commutation in the history and me being a black man I have even less chance of getting a pardon. Why am I even writing down my thoughts, my in-custody history and my self rehabilitation process. How I on my journey have shared and created realness wherever my heart has travelled beyond walls. How I have changed from that crazy ass youngster who took a life in the late 1970's, if all I am going to receive back is a form response letter of no!

There is no path maker in the government willing to go against the grain and blaze, a new trail and reduce an LWOP sentence to something humane and hopeful. A governor punching a hole in the tradition of not reducing LWOP sentences would disrupt the entire system of that LWOP means LWOP. It would take a governor with the soul of an artist or poet.
The Death penalty opponents want all people on Death row to have LWOP instead, a living death sentence. The whole premise of the system is that LWOP means Life in prison without the possibility of parole. Just like about fifteen years ago a counsellor at CMC prison made a point of reminding me, after I had told him I had gone to the board after twelve years, that no matter how much I had changed or what I had accomplished or who I am this moment, day, year and century, LWOP means LWOP and you are not getting out of prison. The counsellor had a fat cat grin on his face. I can see the Death penalty people smiling beside that counsellor fifteen year ago.
One of the creeds of the Death penalty opponents is that no governor has granted clemency to an LWOP prisoner. Their point being that it's the one reason they don't need Death row. LWOP is living death. A political issue you can kick around like a soccer ball. Do the Death penalty people really think they are saving lives and doing someone a favor? Do they really believe swapping one kind of death for another is a just and moral cause? Where are the lawyers on the LWOP side? We need you.

Attorneys say the cost to represent me would be steep, and the journey insurmountable, that I have a better chance at walking to the moon than to get a stay of LWOP execution. A guy on Death row has a better chance than a LWOP of getting their sentence reduced. LWOP prisoners are in the land of limbo, living dead and that is their reprieve, life and punishment, no rehabilitation, but of course the lawyer will take your money. There is no self rehab steps an LWOP can take to redeem themselves.

Why am I wasting my time getting realness friends and family to write letters on my behalf? Perhaps, I’ll be allowed to go back to the board or am I just scribbling out the journey of my heart, soul and spirit for over thirty-six years when all I will get in return is a form letter.
Justice, morality, understanding, forgiveness and humanity not even pondered because the people of power never read the requests in commutation petitions and only stamp and trash file them. My commutation package is nearly done and people have poured their realness into letters of support on my behalf. So I will finish the process and send the papers to Sacramento.


Dear family, friends and realness people – loved ones across Mother Earth!

I may be just whistling or playing my flute in the dark, where no one else can hear me, but I am asking you to write a letter on my behalf to the honorable governor of California Jerry Brown asking him to commute my LWOP sentence. No LWOP has ever been granted commutation or given a second chance. Thus even if the little light or wave we can create may be like spitting in a pond. Who am I to request a physical second chance? I really don't like waiting to hear back from a government, a group of people in Sacramento who really don't know me, and have them decide my fate. Yet, some friends and fellow artists say I must try. So here I am. With basically no expectations, but realness in my heart and walk.
Either way I will keep flowing and keep realness alive even after my last breath. Peace and realness.

Please address your letter to:
Spoon Jackson B-92377 
CSP - LAC A2-231
P.O. Box 4430 Lancaster
CA 93539-4430 



I'm now here at Lancaster prison. The mail system is horrible. Mail can take over a month to reach me. I know my mail sits in the mail room and has been there for weeks. There are no lockdowns here, but also not many jobs. There's a lot of yard time and some programs that I may check out but I don't have a teaching job yet, nor any offer to teach. A couple of fellow prisoners, native brothers, said I should start a flute class as well as a writing class. I sit out on the yard playing my flute. Here I must play in public because, unlike the art room at New Folsom where people could hear me but not see me, here's no such secluded place. For the most people are awed and amazed to see my flutes and hear me play. The food is a tiny bit better than in New Folsom. I miss my gosling families and the art room.

I see ravens from a distance, some sparrows, starlings and of course pigeons and cotton tail rabbits now and then. No real nature theatre out the cell window like before. The sun has been really generous, my skin is even darker now.

I now have a column in POPS (Pain Of the Prison System) called a Spoon-ful of Wisdom. Having no class to teach I'll see what each moment and day will bring and I keep playing my flute.


I was advising another prisoner who said he wants his GED and was having problems with his essay writing. I suggested him to get books particularly on writing essays, which he did and seemed inspired for a moment. Yet not self motivated which is the key. So I tried to inspire him by saying; “look I'm writing an essay.” For an excuse he says; “I'm not competing with you”, which was true and I told him; “you're only competing with yourself to do better.”
For me competition is making myself better moment by moment, growing and pondering in ways to enlighten myself in positive ways. Always competing with myself each day which hopefully gives me something new to ponder... I compete with myself in a non materialistic sense, I strive to let go and be a deeper flute player each day.