Beyond Bars: Voices of NLG Jailhouse Lawyers
By Teddy Lewis
This moment feels like a maze which holds many rooms yet only one of them holds the key
Lately I notice that so many men like to rip and run to the yard. And try to impose their will on various things, from lifting weights to lifting a telephone. Suddenly I came to notice that my life was without legal balance because my lack of legal know how left me stagnated and without true hope.
One day someone came to me and said "why" don't you go to the law library and start to study your case?
The question really opened my eyes to realizing that my running around the jail lost and "confused" would not help me. I went back to my cell and it touched me because I really thought about how important his message was. As time went on I began to see that dedication and basic hard work can and will pay off eventually.
Just to think of this fact has inspired me to write this to every prisoner in N.Y. state.
I began to realize that needed to make the ultimate sacrifices for freedom, justice and equality. I began to realize how to respect the chain of command, which is to go to my school program, go to the mess hall eat, come back to my cell, read and study my case and don't deviate from this basic plan. Every day I would sit in my cell and study and slowly but surely the "lights" went on inside my mind telling me that I was doing the right thing despite my recent appeals being denied I can sense that one day I would find myself free from the misery of N.Y. State prison forever.
Today I study things about the judicial system and its essence which gives me courage and faith to continue on despite the odds presently against me. Today I see the "psychological games" that leave the prison system in such disarray yet my determination to survive is beyond words. It is my opinion that Hillary Clinton will be the next president soon and the prison system will be drastically shaped and changed into a modern day nightmare.
The reason I say this is because her husband placed the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 in place which actually denies any real relief for any prisoner.
The military of the United States Government as well as Governor Cuomo and our legislators in Washington are already preparing such dreadful tactics. It will take men who understand and who can manage through trials and tribulations and persevere into their eventual release.
The key to prison is being to understanding the laws of N.Y. State courts and surrounding yourself with the minds of real brotherhood. This era we are living in is extremely critical and only the strong shall survive.
The key to prison is too block out everything in the prison and focus on the important factor. I admit that this is a very dark and lonely road. Their are 14 years of pain, and, possible "illegal" "confinement" which I have suffered, yet the very first time I read a law book my life has truly turned forward.
I find that practice and effort has led me to believe I can now stand in any federal, state or county courtroom and win against any court prosecutor and I really really believe that.
Because I read a book that a prisoner wrote, I took the initiative to "think outside the box" so today I am a better man. I do wish that certain judges, and legislators could come inside the prison system and witness my effort.
Although I don't have any major plaques, awards, or citations to impress anyone with but I can tell the world that basic study of law and judicial acts can enlighten anyone who is incarcerated, and I write these words to constantly inspire you.
I thank all the brothers at N.L.G. for reading this
God bless you
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.