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Lyle May has spent over twenty years residing on death row in North Carolina. In the release of his book by Haymarket Books, he tells his story, offering a scathing critique of the carceral system through an abolitionist lens. In this talk, Lyle calls in from death row in fifteen minute increments, recounting his journey and discussing his important book which Mariame Kaba called “essential reading.” Watch a recording of the panel here!

Abolishing the Carceral State: From Death Row to Guantanamo Bay and Everything in Between 

Lyle participated on a panel discussion featuring firsthand perspectives and an inside look on what it means to abolish the carceral state from those directly impacted by this system. Watch a recording of the panel here!

Transcription of a speech Lyle gave at the Southern Criminal Justice Association Conference on September 15th, 2022, discussing long-term imprisonment and the death penalty.


In this episode, Lyle called in from death row to talk about what can only be shared with a history inside death row, facing the court systems, and prison research he has taken up to studying during his time incarcerated.

The Way Podcast episode 12, hosted by Bill Troveski. October 20, 2020.

93) Phone Call from Death Row w/ Lyle May and Tessie CastilloThe Way
00:00 / 53:34

An interview with Author Tessie Castillo and Death Row writer Lyle May.

Choose Your Struggle podcast episode 14, hosted by Jay Shifman. May 22, 2022

Episode 14- The Person Behind the Call From Death Row with Tessie Castillo and Lyle May and a Shout Out from Veronica Porras!Choose Your Struggle
00:00 / 49:32

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tessie Castillo and Lyle May, co-authors of “Crimson Letters,” about the stories and the process of writing the book.

NPR's The State of Things, hosted by Frank Stasio. September 17, 2020.

Does a person lose their value once they’ve committed a crime? The current American prison system acts a black hole for those we view as the bottom rung of society. But how can anyone seek redemption for their crimes if we purposely make it impossible? Society benefits when every human being is allowed a purpose in life.

Psychology of Entrepreneurship Podcast: Volume 61, hosted by Ronsley Vaz. January 11, 2021.

61. Volume: Lyle May: PurposeThe Psychology of Entrepreneurship
00:00 / 37:05

Watch the recording of the panel from April 19th, 2023, featuring Lyle in conversation with Professors Alexis Hoag-Fordjour, Lisa Washington, and Jocelyn Simonson, plus Molly Parmer, criminal defense attorney in Atlanta. 

Lyle May calls in and provides a fascinating and engaging interview on how he stays motivated on death row and his thoughts on criminal justice reform proposals.

Felony Friday podcast hosted by John Odermatt. October 27, 2020

Voices from Death Row with Lyle MayLions of Liberty
00:00 / 42:06

Lyle discusses his upbringing and struggles with addiction, and subsequent life in prison, where lately he has written extensively about his personal experiences and the American criminal justice system in general.

Straight from the Source Podcast. October 2, 2022.

Lyle May - Writing from Death RowStraight from the Source
00:00 / 28:37

It seems like criminal justice actors (law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges) often aren’t held to the same standards of accountability as ordinary citizens. Are they really operating on different rules? Co-authors of Crimson Letters, Tessie Castillo and Lyle May, explain how some policies and loopholes in the criminal justice system protect its actors from being held to the same standards of justice that they implement. They also discuss what ordinary citizens can do to fight back against these protections and increase accountability within the criminal justice system.

Part 1 of 4 of video panel discussion with Sr. Helen Prejean. July 20, 2020.

Psychology of Entrepreneurship Podcast: Volume 61, hosted by Ronsley Vaz. January 11, 2021.

Transcription of a speech Lyle gave to the UNC Chapel Hill class, "Race, Innocence and the End of the Death Penalty," taught by Prof. Frank Baumgartner. The questions come from students who read, "Beyond the Wall," and "Life Without Parole Is Silent Execution," published by Scalawag Magazine. The class also read the NC Supreme Court decision on Lyle C. May’s direct appeal. The speech took place over the course of a 15 minute phone call from death row.

From Preacher Exchange.

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