To see Lyle's resume, scroll down or press here.
Discipline and resilience enable a level of success I never thought possible in prison. After earning an Associates in Arts degree with a social emphasis through Ohio University’s Correctional Education program in 2013, I went on to complete a paralegal certificate through the Center for Legal Studies in Golden, Colorado. By 2017, I gained acceptance into Ohio University’s Bachelor of Specialized Studies program in Criminal Justice Administration. In 2019, I became a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society through Ohio University’s Psi Delta Chapter.
While pursuing my higher education on death row I have become a prison journalist trying to bridge the gap between society and the people it incarcerates, while shedding light in dark corners of the penal system along the way. My writing has appeared in several criminal justice publications, which is how UNC professor Frank Baumgartner eventually invited me to speak with his POLI203 class: “Race, Innocence, and the End of the Death Penalty.” Students read some of my Scalawag Magazine articles and submitted questions, from which I composed and delivered a 15-minute speech, followed by 15 minutes of Q & A, over the phone. Talking to a class of nearly 300 students was a dynamic experience that provided my first opportunity to teach and lead from prison.
Using the experience as a blueprint, I reached out to and networked with other professors and social justice advocates, arranging speaking engagements at different universities and churches. Over a two-year span, my writing on capital punishment, the penal system, life on death row, and criminal justice reform has been added to three undergraduate and one graduate-level syllabi. I have also led conversations on these topics at:
· Ohio University SOC4950 “The Death Penalty in the USA”
· UNC Chapel Hill AMST 278 “Crimes and Punishments”
· UNC Chapel Hill AMST 714 “Incarceration in America”—cancelled due to COVID-19
· University of Minnesota at Minneapolis SOC4106 “Crime on TV”
· The 2018 Ohio Academic Advising Association Conference
· Americore Vista: Minnesota Youth Alliance
· The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham; Durham, NC
· St. Paul’s Lutheran Church; Durham, NC
· The Universalist Unitarian Church; Raleigh, NC
· National Public Radio’s “The State of Things” with Frank Stasio
· “Film and Law” ENG: UN3792 Columbia University
· “Abolition: A Social Justice Practicum” L8419 Columbia University
· “Defenders Collective” New York University Law Center
Through social justice advocacy and writing I have found a purpose on death row, engaging the community in ways incarceration typically renders impossible. Rather than feel special, I feel responsible to make the most of this platform, to shout the needs of all those who remain voiceless and hidden behind prison walls. Their plight is mine and together we will be heard.