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Violet Gives a Second Chance to a Convicted Felon!
By Moira McMahon, Researcher
In episode 405, "In or Out," Violet helps a convicted felon, Lewis Cartwright, get parole.
Lewis has spent the last forty years behind bars for murder and armed robbery. He's been a model prisoner, working in the mailroom, even volunteering to lead counseling groups and to teach other prisoners to read.
He feels sorry for what he did and he's been rehabilitated. If anyone is ready for parole, it's Lewis.
However, despite being ready for parole, he doesn't want out. He's an old gentle man who knows his place in the system. He's grown accustomed to the schedule, the food and being told what to do 24 hours a day. How will the outside world treat him? No one will care that he was well behaved; all they will see is the word felon on his job application.
He begs Violet to tell the parole board that he's not ready. But Violet believes in second chances and Lewis has earned his. She goes against his wishes and recommends him for parole.
Now Lewis has to make his way in the world. Everything is a challenge, housing, clothing; even ordering coffee feels overwhelming for him. When Violet tries to check up on him, he's angry and threatening.
But Lewis does come to visit Violet. The hardest part about being on the outside isn't what to order at a restaurant, it's knowing that he took a life. Violet urges him to hold on to his freedom and use his life to keep helping others. Lewis knows that he'll always have regret, but perhaps he can have joy, too.
However, no matter how well Lewis behaves now, he's still responsible for killing a college-aged girl. Her family doesn't get rehabilitation from their grief. Whether or not Lewis thrived in prison, does he really deserve to walk free - ever? Did Violet make the right decision?
What would YOU do?