*Editor’s note: We’ve all overcome obstacles in life. How have you started over? Join us at on Facebook Tuesday, April 14, at 1 p.m. EST for a special chat on forgiveness and fresh starts with reporter Jacob Baynham.
The triumph of innocence
Ricky Jackson’s four decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit is the story of injustice, perseverance, and, most of all, grace.
The world can shock and amaze us on each of the 365 days of each of those years. Multiply that by 40. That is the number of days Mr. Jackson spent in prison. He was innocent the entire time. You’ll meet this remarkable man in a cover story that is as compelling as it is troubling, as heartbreaking as it is redeeming. Parts of this story might be difficult. It involves robbery and murder and injustice. But stick with it and you will find yourself thinking of Jean Valjean or the biblical Joseph.
Last November, after the longest period of false imprisonment in current history, Jackson was freed. But that was not the end of the story. If you have ever wondered about the word grace, you’ll see it defined in what happened next.
All sorts of social critiques can and should be drawn from cases of false imprisonment. Was racial profiling a factor? Can we make sure the justice system is really just? Something more also is worth considering: Innocence often seems fragile, ephemeral, naive. The world is always ready to teach it a lesson, to tell it to get real, move on, shake it off. What you’ll see in the Ricky Jackson story is how powerful and triumphal innocence can be.