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Great Falls Forum kicks off 2018-19 season

Joseph Jackson is coordinator of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and a program coordinator with Maine Inside Out.

The 2018-19 season of the Great Falls Forum kicks off on Thursday, September 20 when Joseph Jackson, coordinator of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and a program coordinator with Maine Inside Out, presents an address called “Prison Reform in Maine and the Need for Those with Lived Experience to Lead the Discussion.” Free and open to the public, the program will take place from 12 to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at Lewiston Public Library.

Joseph Jackson is a returning citizen, having spent two decades as a prisoner within the Maine Department of Corrections. As a prisoner, he completed Literacy Volunteer Training, Peer Education, and Work-Ready Alternatives to Violence One, Two, and Three. He is a founder of the Maine State Prison chapter of the NAACP and served on its executive committee in several capacities from 2003-2012.

While incarcerated, he earned his Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees with summa cum laude honors from the University of Southern Maine in Augusta. In 2012, he was selected as a member of Who’s Who among students in colleges and universities. The first person in Maine to be selected to a graduate program while still a prisoner, he recently earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and was one of four commencement speakers for his class.

Jackson’s work was published in the online news journal Village Soupin 2003 and 2004. His poetry has been featured in the NAACP Martin Luther King Breakfast catalogs for Portland and Bangor from 2005-2012. His poem “Brighter Days” was published in The UMA Scholar in 2012 and his poetry was featured in the Bangor Daily News in 2014. He released his master’s thesis, “Black In Maine,” in 2016.

In his Great Falls Forum presentation, Jackson will discuss the current state of Maine’s system of punishment as state-sanctioned trauma for adults and youth. He proposes that the Department of Corrections has failed in its mission to protect the public by failing to prepare prisoners for responsible reentry.

The Great Falls Forum is a monthly brown-bag speaker series featuring statewide and regional leaders in public policy, business, academia, and the arts. The programs are free and open to all with no reservations required. Coffee, tea, and bottled water are provided for a donation at the event. For more information, contact LPL Adult & Teen Services at 513-3135 or LPLReference@Gmail.com.

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