One Woman Shares Her Personal Legal Letter
by Lisa Newhouse

Dear Sir/Madam:

My name is Lisa Newhouse and I am an African American woman caught up in the injustice of the system. I am currently serving a 60 Agg. sentence, in Texas. The law requires me to do 30 flat years for Agg. Robbery and Assault with a deadly weapon. I am from a small town called Emory (Rains County). Everyone involved in my case grew up together. I had a no win situation due to the circumstances, no knowledge of the law or my rights, and doing what I felt was right by pleading guilty (plea bargain), with the advice of my appointed council, he said, I had no choice. I was rail-roaded in believing that they were going to help me. Yes, I am guilty of robbing a man, and assaulting him, and I will always take responsibility for my wrongs. My only argument is the excessive time I received (no one is dead), and the amount of years they require of me. In serving 30 flat years, I am not guaranteed to make parole with the Texas law. I have worked on my case for years but to no avail, no feedback. I have found many law arguments of my constitutional rights that were violated, and have a package sent to anyone who is able to help me, support me, pray for me, encourage me, and help financially. I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

In life we always seem to make choices that drastically affect our future and all too often cause a backlash of misfortune.

 In my life I have, as so many others made the choices of bad faith. Yet with these choices and their repercussions; my positive stronghold of life and to never repeat the same mistakes has evolved. My life, again as so many others hasn’t always been good nor though have I always know “the struggle.” I have no excuses to offer for my past choices and no ear to my cry for help.

 I grew up never knowing an outlet for my emotional pain; therefore I suppressed it and held it at bay with numerous momentary distractions. It wasn’t until my incarceration that I was finally forced to face and deal with my life long suppressions.

As a single mom of three young boys, I made life good for both them, and myself. I did what was intrinsic to live as a single parent and positive role model for three children dependent of the rearing of their mother.

I made the choice that single women too regularly make and that was in my bad choices of men. I had to cope with failed relationships and adhere to the stress of it all. I began to seek solace in the bottom of a bottle and the oblivion of drugs.

When I was 28, I became addicted to crack cocaine and from that point and drastic change of choices, my life began its downward spiral, (within 9 months, I was on my way here to prison). In a state of despair and a last ditched effort to save myself, I sought help from my family. They came to my rescue and tried to regain a semi-balance back into my life by making preparations to induct me into a rehabilitation program. Placing my children with family, taken care of my home and vehicle, so that it would still be available after I finished treatment.

I committed my crime two days before I was to enter treatment. Secure in the fact I’d reached out to them asking for help, they unwittingly made the grave mistake of leaving me alone in my home. In my addicted state, I was in a losing battle to conquer and overcome my addiction. Regardless of how badly I wanted, needed help, I couldn’t over power the monkey on my back not matter how I desired. Not knowing then that my family should have entered me in treatment right away and made preparations without me present. Still, from that I learned.

Though I broke the law and came to prison, it saved my life. I am not saying my choice was the right one, but now I realize how close I had become in becoming another statistic to the negative influence of crack cocaine.

Since my incarceration I have by my own choice decided to allow this time to benefit me and mold me for the better and become person, allowing myself finally to deal with the demons and skeletons of my past that bound me paving the road that lead to my ultimate destination of current.

When I arrived here I was riddled with anger, embarrassment, and shame for what I had done to an innocent person and his family, my children, and family as well. I signed up for everything TDCJ offered as rehabilitation to help me cope with the darkness of my emotional, physically, and spiritual pain.

I have taken AA, NA, spiritual clinical counseling groups, and Bible studies on the unit and thru mail, Kairos, and attend church, (I am closer to my spiritual side), I’ve since gotten my GED, and now I am attending college.

Yet, I have had my ups and downs with the system, but I have fallen and gotten back up. You learn, take heed, and move forward. I encourage and help those around me to see the benefit of time to better themselves, educate, and learn what otherwise may not have become evident without this time to themselves, asking them to allot themselves the opportunity to see there is always a better life, other than this, regardless of their struggles.

My future goals are to continue to better myself, for not only my children, family, or society, but myself as well. I do a lot of legal research to help others, and myself and I have learned to read and self educate myself. I go to college and I am currently working toward dual associate degrees in Social Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies. My dream and ultimate goal is to Major in Psychology / Sociology, and be a Spiritual Clinical Counselor, to teach, workshops, conferences, and speak all over the world and help prevent as many as I can reach from going down the same path of life as I have, and so many others. But, if they do, they still have a chance in life.

I have known life within the system for “seventeen calendar years” now and I am not the same Lisa Newhouse that I was when I was assigned my IDCJ-ID-number nor am I the same as I was yesterday. My life is progressive and it will continue to do so regardless of the hardships and blows to my character that I may be forced to endure. I will not bow down to defeat and excuse.

I wish to take this life of mine and give a better life to someone else. My whole-hearted prayer is that you look beyond my wrong choices and help me. Give me a chance to becoming a working, productive citizen.


Lisa Newhouse