WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at his Dupont Circle home Monday morning, wearing a tan suit, a GPS locator on his ankle and grateful “that America is a land of second chances.”
Prisoner 3245106 was back home, released from a Baltimore halfway house to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement, with his movements highly monitored.
Jackson, speaking to reporters outside his home, said his wife, Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, will begin serving her sentence on Oct. 30.
Looking relaxed, trim and with some gray in his hair, Jackson 50, read from a handwritten statement, then took questions where, for the first time, he discussed his fall from lawmaker to felon, his mental illness and his imprisonment.
“I’ve experienced and I’ve accepted the consequences of my behavior, my poor judgment and my actions,” he said.
Jackson pulled up his trousers slightly to show the tracking device over his white sock on his left ankle.
Jackson said he has been writing a memoir while serving his time.
“I plan to use the next several months of home confinement…to share with the American people not only my journey, but the journey of Americans who have erred and made mistakes of judgement that led to their incarceration,” Jackson said.
Jesse Jackson Jr. displays the tracking device he must wear. | Lynn Sweet/Sun-Times
“My takeaway is that people should not leave this experience bitter. They should be the better, more determined, more committed.”
The Jackson children, Jesse and Jessica and their mother were away at an undisclosed location – not in Washington and not in Chicago – because Jackson saidhe wanted to shield them from reporters staking out his arrival from a halfway house in Baltimore.
“This is a very difficult time for Sandi,” Jackson said.
The Jackson children have long attended a private school in northwest Washington, the reason that Sandi and Jesse Jackson decided to remain here rather than return to their home in Chicago on 72nd near South Shore Drive.
The couple wanted to keep their kids “in the environment they had grown accustomed to. It’s been very difficult for us. At the appropriate time I would like to return home and share with the people of the city of Chicago and with the country these experiences in greater detail.”
Inside the ornate Jackson home, there were about 40 notebooks full of writings, which the Sun-Times saw on a table in the dining room. There were also piles of books he had read and off to a side on the floor, two pairs of prison boots and his Department of Justice prison ID.
Also in the dining room were paintings from one of his fellow prison cellmates – three paintings which he called “Shame,” “Blame” and “Guilt.”
Outside, earlier, speaking to reporters Jackson reflected on his prison experience and his book.
“I’ve experienced some things on this journey for which I will write about, and dedicate the rest of my life to,” he said. “The crippling effects of poverty, and lack of education, and circular reasoning are at the heart of recidivism and the limited life options of the men and women that I met along this journey.”
“They, like me, are in some form of shame, some form of blame, someone else to complain, some more explaining, and guilt; just a trap that seemingly can never be escaped from,”
Jackson arrived home in a SUV arranged by his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and with no other family members.
Rev. Jackson is in Chicago for theRainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund 44th Annual International Convention, running through Wednesday.
The former lawmaker said must remain home for at least eight days to allow testing of the monitoring equipment that will track his movements between now and his release date at the end of September.
Jackson had been released from the Volunteers of America halfway house shortly before 9 a.m. EDT and left in a black SUV. He had been there since his release from an Alabama federal prison in March.
LYNN SWEET: Jackson likely to serve home confinement in Washington
Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, moved into the halfway house from prison, where he was serving 30 month sentence for looting $750,000 from his campaign funds.
Former Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) is headed to a federal prison to serve her 12-month sentence. The couple pled guilty on Feb. 20, 2013 to looting campaign funds of $750,000 and spending much of it on personal items ranging from the lavish – a Rolex and furs – to the mundane, toilet paper from Costco.