The following are letters of support from other members of Joe’s family, which accompanied his Petition for Clemency in 2014. Another two years has passed, and the family waits…
“He needs another chance as his family needs him. I am 75 yrs old now and I’m not asking, I am begging for his life.” – Sue Barrow, Joe’s mom
Sue Barrow, Joe’s mom
I am writing this letter to you concerning my son, Dicky Joe Jackson, an inmate in Forrest City Ark. He has been in prison for 18 yrs. for drugs. He received a life sentence. He got into trouble over a dying son that was born with a terminal illness. He needed a bone marrow transplant but the doctors needed $250,000 up front as they had their insurance canceled because of this. Joe sold everything he had, we gave all kinds of fund raisers and wrote letters to everyone we thought might help us but it took a year and we only had something over $50,000 dollars. We are just poor working people and had just given all we could and the baby was running out of time. That’s how this all started.
Joe is a good son. He has never been into any trouble since being locked up. He works hard in there trying to make enough money to get by but prison doesn’t pay a lot and some of us usually send him money for basic needs. As he has gotten older his health has gone downhill. They can’t keep his blood pressure down and now are running blood work for something else, I am not sure what. He needs another chance as his family needs him. I am 75 yrs old now and I’m not asking, I am begging for his life. He will never be back in prison again for anything.
Mrs. Sue Barrow
Yvonne Jackson, Joe’s ex-wife:
My name is Yvonne Jackson, my ex-husband (Dicky Joe Jackson 24017-077) is in Federal prison in Forrest City, Arkansas; He is serving three life sentences for drugs. The two main men who originally introduced Joe to hauling drugs were both given reduced sentences for turning on everyone else. Our youngest son has a rare disease called Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome; he needed a bone marrow transplant, without it he was not supposed to live past the age of 5. Our insurance cancelled our plan after all of Cole’s medical expenses started to pile up. Yes, Joe did get involved with drugs because he was desperate. We were told Cole only had two years to live if we did not get him into the transplant unit right away. This is what happens when insurance can cancel people’s plans unexpectedly with no sound reason. We had an independent insurance that we bought many years before Cole was born and paid on time the entire duration that we had the insurance.
“The two main men who originally introduced Joe to hauling drugs were both given reduced sentences for turning on everyone else. Our youngest son has a rare disease called Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome; he needed a bone marrow transplant, without it he was not supposed to live past the age of 5. Our insurance cancelled our plan after all of Cole’s medical expenses started to pile up. Yes, Joe did get involved with drugs because he was desperate. We were told Cole only had two years to live if we did not get him into the transplant unit right away. This is what happens when insurance can cancel people’s plans unexpectedly with no sound reason.”
We sold everything we could after that and had many fundraisers for Cole. We had to raise $250,000 for the bone marrow transplant. The National Children’s Cancer Society stepped in and said if we could raise $50,000, they would donate another $50,000 and negotiate with the hospital to agree to $100,000 for the surgery (Just to let you know, $50,000 was like a million dollars to a working class family with three children, one being very ill). Joe did what he could to save his child, right or wrong, as any parent would do. He also got messed up on the drug, the stress was too much for him, as a father he felt he could not do anything to take care of our son who we thought was going to die (all of this information can be collaborated with hospital and court records). I feel there have been a lot of people busted with a greater amount and were not given a sentence so harsh. Joe Jackson has been in there for almost 19 years. April, our oldest, was only 14 when Joe went into prison. She is now 33, has four children of her own and has completed her bachelor’s degree. She has made sure that her children know Joe and have a relationship with him. Jon, our oldest son, was 8 when Joe went to prison, he is now 26, has a degree in diesel engineering, and is co-owner of his own business. Cole, our youngest, is now 23 years old. He is chronically ill and in addition to the bone marrow transplant he has had his spleen removed. His platelet counts stay at an extremely low level and he has a hard time fighting off illnesses, but he is alive. He is alive and strong and if we had to do it all over again we would for Cole. What parent would not give their life for their child without ever looking back?
“What parent would not give their life for their child without ever looking back?”
It has been a long and hard road raising three children without a dad, trying to make sure they keep contact with Joe, supporting all of my children, and keeping up with Cole’s medical issues. Joe’s children have grown up without him. He is 55 years old and not in the best of health. He takes numerous pills daily to help combat his high blood pressure and he’s recently had multiple surgeries in failed attempts to repair a retinal detachment.
We have given so many chances for murderers and rapist to receive short sentences only to get out and repeat their previous offense, destroying families and lives in the process. Why can we not give Joe a chance? Yes, he does need to pay for the mistakes that he made, but not for the rest of his life and his childrens’ life. Dicky Joe Jackson is serving 3 life sentences for drugs. His children’s love and devotion should speak volumes for the man’s character. They have tried to get attention to this matter. They always stay in contact with their dad and make sure the grand-children know and love him as they do. I have also remained in close contact with Joe although we did get a divorce. I have not gotten remarried. I have focused on raising my children and making sure that Cole was taken care of. I have a great love and respect for Joe and always will. He is good dad and husband, he made a decision that we have all paid for, but did get the money to save our child. I think the greatest gift you can give is your life for another. Joe did that.
“I think the greatest gift you can give is your life for another. Joe did that.”
I would also like to take the time to thank you very much for reading our letters. I do ask for mercy and please consider a sentence reduction for a man who made a very bad mistake and a family who would love to have him back. If you have a daughter you know they need their father no matter what it helps build them into a strong, confident woman. Boys need their father just as much, maybe if we could get these parents back with their children we would not have so many children in prison too.
I am talking about men and women who are in there for drugs, NOT sexual offenses, rape, or murder. We are talking about parents who made a very bad mistake with drugs. Some have paid a very heavy price with their life and their family. Joe’s family has been beside him the whole time.
Jon Jackson, Joe’s eldest son:
My name is Billy Jon Jackson my dad is Dicky Joe Jackson. My dad has been locked up since I was 8 years old, I am now 26. In that time I have graduated from high school, Tech school, started my own company, I have been married and became [an] uncle of 4 little kids. To this point in my life I can’t complain except that the only type of relationship I can have with my dad is once or twice a year on Saturday and Sunday for 3 hours and I may get to talk to him twice a month.
What my dad did was wrong and I understand that but, he has missed all of the things in life that make life LIFE. There is no greater punishment than that. He is now an old man that has nothing left except the hope that one day he will get to spend an afternoon with his family that still loves and misses him every day. See its not just my dad that has been punished here, it is my entire family. He has no appeals left or parole. He has no chance except you, we have no chance except you.
See its not just my dad that has been punished here, it is my entire family.
Men in my family don’t live past the age of 65 we have a long history of heart problems my dad is no exception he has hypertension. I don’t know how long he will live it could be till he is 100 but very unlikely more likely he has somewhere around 10 years left. Please let that be with his family if not for him for us. I will not ramble on for two or three pages that’s not what this is about I just want you to know my father has learned his lesson and been punished plenty and he has a very large family that loves him very much. I have never had a chance to hang out with my dad please give me that, everybody deserves at least that. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Cole Jackson, Joe’s youngest son:
My name is Joseph Cole Jackson and I am writing this letter on behalf of my father Dicky Joe Jackson. He is currently serving 3 life sentences for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine in Forrest City, Arkansas. While most would agree, myself included, that this offense is not one to be taken lightly and requires a hefty sentence, most would also agree that 19 years in federal prison is more than sufficient payment to society for the crime committed. A man who has been sober, out of a life of crime, and in federal prison for 19 years for a non-violent offense poses virtually no threat to society which is the sole purpose of the US prison system, to isolate those of deviant behavior toward social norms from the rest of the population. Along with never being affiliated with any gangs or being involved in any criminal incidences during his imprisonment, my father has also taken numerous drug awareness/addiction classes, money management, anger manag[e]ment and various other real world courses. Most prisoners who either get out on parole or get out on a lesser sentence often fail to try to better themselves at all while in their “Correctional” facility and my father has quite literally taken every class that they allow him to. The only reason he has ever stopped taking classes is because they started to deny him due to his release date or, rather, lack of.
Many people in communities worry that if a prisoner were released after such an extended period of time away from normal life that the individual would tum back to a life of crime because of their lack of understanding the current society and failure to find a source of income. This, however, would not be the case if my father were to be released. Not only is he a very knowledgeable person in the world of automotive maintenance and repair, as was his job prior to being convicted, but he also has a fund that his family has set up for him if he were to ever be released that would allow him to successfully assimilate himself back into society while not having to worry about rushing to find a job. His character and religious views are of the highest standard and while his previous criminal behavior may indicate otherwise, there was a method to his madness so to speak. Although there is never a good excuse to break the law or commit a crime, especially one that affects other individuals, his reason would be the closest.
When I was born I was diagnosed with a terminal illness called Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. At first there was absolutely no hope for my survival but the medical professionals at Cooks Children’s Hospital in Dallas came to us with good news. They told my family of an experimental surgery that, at the time. [W]asn’t proven but was our only option. The surgery was to cost $250,000 and to a family who made roughly $20,000 to $25,000 a year is was quite overwhelming. It seemed though that luck was on our side as my mother and father had a very good health insurance plan, had never missed a payment, and the surgery was covered under their current plan. Unfortunately that is where our luck came to an abrupt halt. The insurance company denied the claim for ‘undisclosed reasons’ and the doctors would not do the surgery without prior payment. Eventually after several pleas to many celebrities, sports stars, and other persons with the means and kindness to help numerous fundraisers and auctions, and saving every penny we still hadn’t reached $250,000. In fact, we had such a meager amount the doctors decided that whatever we raise they would match that amount. [M]eaning that we only needed to raise $125,000 or 5 times my family’s annual income. Even with the tremendous amount of donations from various people and the generous offer by the doctors that would eventually save my life, we still didn’t have enough and time was running out. Every day I went without the surgery, the more ill I became. After exhausting every resource that was available to my family, my father made a decision that would lead to his lifetime imprisonment.
“After exhausting every resource that was available to my family, my father made a decision that would lead to his lifetime imprisonment.”
He began to cut deals with certain people he knew and started transporting methamphetamine from California to Texas. He knew that eventually he would have to pay for his crimes but that was the sacrifice he was willing to make to save his son. With the money he raised in his short time running drugs he was able to pay for my surgery and I received a bone marrow transplant from my sister. Many will say that if he was released he would cause more harm than good or he would be unable to be successful outside of prison life but all that speculation is from unqualified individuals who don’t know the first thing about prison life or personal sacrifice. In conclusion, I can guarantee you that if he, Dicky Joe Jackson # 24017-077 were released today would not, without a shadow of a doubt, not only be a productive, law abiding citizen but also have a supportive family helping him all along the way.
Thank you for your time.
Joseph Cole Jackson
“He knew that eventually he would have to pay for his crimes but that was the sacrifice he was willing to make to save his son.”