“I just want to know,” Mack paused and took a moment to ask what was in his heart, “how do I live with the stigma of being a murderer?” Mack was on the brink of tears. His face was red with vulnerability. Serving twenty-five to life, this man in his mid thirties was participating in a dialogue between victims and offenders at San Quentin State Prison in California. He had just finished revealing the details of his crime thirteen years earlier and was left with more truthful questions about the meaning of his life.

On the surface, Mack had just “taken accountability” for the violence he had committed. But in the deeper poetry of accountability, Mack held the pieces of his life in his hands, felt each for texture, and placed them on the table. Then, in the nakedness of truth, he began...

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