Go On: Support The Other Death Penalty Project

Go On poem, Spoon Jackson, prison poet, poet behind bars, The Good Life, The Good Men Project, social justice issues, life without parole, prison reform, The Other Death Penalty Project

You can help raise awareness among policymakers of the cruelty of life without parole.

The Other Death Penalty Project’s anthology, “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough,” (an anthology of writings by life without parole prisoners and others) will raise awareness nationwide that life without parole sentences are the death penalty and must be abolished. They need to raise $10,000 by May 25, 2013. Read more and contribute here.

Funds raised through this campaign will allow us to print copies of this remarkable book to be placed on the desks of at least 1,000 death penalty abolitionist groups (who support LWOP as a “reasonable alternative” to lethal injection), policymakers, thought leaders, and others of influence nationwide.

A sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) is a death sentence.  Worse, it is a long, slow, dissipating death sentence without any of the legal or administrative safeguards rightly awarded to those condemned to traditional forms of execution.  It exposes and caters to that segment of our society that believes redemption and personal transformation are not possible for all human beings, and that it is reasonable and just to forever define an individual by his or her worst act.  LWOP is wrong and should be abolished.

The Other Death Penalty Project (TODPP) is a true grassroots organizing campaign comprised wholly of men and women sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, the purpose of which is to end this practice of sentencing tens of thousands to a slow and painful execution in this nation’s maximum-security prisons through a peaceful, well-orchestrated and thought-out plan to change hearts and minds. TODPP’s ultimate goal is to see the permanent end to the use of this form of state-sanctioned execution (along with all other forms), resulting in all life term prisoners having, at least, the possibility of earning parole.

We need $10,000 to pay for printing, postage, and mailing costs for 1,000 books, as well as for targeted advertisements and book contest entry fees.  It costs $4 to print each book ($4,000), an average of $3 per book in postage ($3,000), and approximately $800 in office supply costs (mailing envelopes, paper, tape, etc.).  The remaining $2,200 will be used to place targeted ads in print and other media and enter “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough” in writing contests which will garner additional publicity for our cause…

Spoon’s poem Go On is one of the poems in the new anthology. SF Bay View writes:

“This book, about to be released, is made up of essays and poems by prisoners sentenced to “the other death penalty,” the long, slow, agonizing death of life in prison without hope of parole. This poem by Spoon Jackson is one of them. The editor and co-editors are also serving LWOP sentences, and the cover was designed by a prison artist.”

Susan E Lawrence writes about the book in her article The lowdown on Caliofrnia’s Prop 34: “Recently, I read an extraordinary manuscript for a forthcoming book, “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough,” a unique collection of essays and poetry by life without parole prisoners. It is, quite simply, devastating. For those who have not had the privilege, as I have had, to be allowed a view into an aspect of humanity hidden away from public consciousness, reading this book will be a life-changing experience, after which it should be impossible to consider life without parole a “reasonable” alternative to anything.” The whole article is published in the political newsletter Counterpunch.
This previously appeared on the Spoon Jackson Realness network blog here and here.

Read more on Men in Prison.

Image credit: karen_neoh/Flickr

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About Spoon Jackson

Poet/writer/artist/teacher. In prison since 1977. I had two books published in 2010 “Longer Ago Poems by Spoon Jackson” and “By Heart Poetry, Prison, And Two Lives”, a double memoir by Judith Tannenbaum and me. I've been featured in films, plays, articles, books and music suites. I've found my niche in life despite being in prison for over 35 years. I have found that prisons are created internally and are truly found everywhere. I have also discovered that the secrets to break down prison walls are inside each person and I treasure sharing this realness with people. I keep my light glowing through expressing my inner thoughts, vibes and feelings in my poetry and prose writing. Write to me! Address on the blog: Spoon Jackson Realness Network.


  1. Anja Rydén says:

    Received a mail today from The Other Death Penalty Project saying:
    Dear Friends and Supporters:
    I am so pleased to report that “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough” was selected as the Anthology Division Gold Medal Winner in the Independent Publisher Awards! Read more about the awards at http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1653.
    We still need your support for our Indiegogo campaign—18 days to go and we’re only 20% of the way there. If you haven’t made a contribution already, now is the time! Please also spread the word to your contacts and ask for their support! Visit the campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-other-death-penalty-project–2/x/266588.
    Thank you so much!
    Ken Hartman

    • Anja Rydén says:

      Professor Michelle Alexander (noted author of “The New Jim Crow”) says this about “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough”: “This extraordinary collection of essays will electrify you, move you to tears, and force you to reckon with an inconvenient truth: Life without parole is not a defensible, moral alternative to the death penalty. It is the death penalty. By denying those sentenced to die in prison any hope of redemption, we are denying their basic humanity. People of conscience must commit to ensuring that these stories, brilliantly crafted and born of pain, will not be told in vain. The time is long overdue to abolish life without parole in the United States. If you wonder, even in the slightest, whether such sentences might be justified read this book.”

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