If you talk with Scott Lewis, you hear a lot of things that sound like this: “When you go through a lot of challenges in life, you learn how to make the best out of the days that you’re given to live life.” And Lewis has been through some challenges.

At the age of 29, he was sentenced to 120 years in prison for a high-profile murder in New Haven that he didn’t commit. An FBI investigation found that Lewis and a co-defendant had been set up by a police officer who was involved in selling cocaine.

Despite this, it took Lewis years of legal research while behind bars, and help from teams of law students to help him gain his release in 2014. His story is the subject of a documentary, 120 Years.

But he lost 19 years of his life, years with his family he says he can’t get back, and can’t get “too emotional” about. In 2017, he settled a lawsuit with the city of New Haven for $9.5 million.

He’s now 55, and running his own real estate firm – the profession he’d been pursuing before his arrest. He wrote recently for the CT Mirror’s Viewpoints section about his support for a bill that would, in his words, provide “second chances by reducing barriers to professional licensing for people with convictions.”

Lewis knows about the barriers people leaving prison face, and he says that while some of those barriers are necessary, they need to be coupled with compassion for those starting to seek a new life.

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John DankoskyEvent / Podcast Host

John is CT Mirror's Director of Events. A well-known and highly-regarded radio personality and moderator, he divides his time between CT Mirror — where he heads up our events program and serves as a multi-platform consultant — and the NPR / PRI program Science Friday. Previously, John was executive editor of the New England News Collaborative and the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England. He also appeared weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s news roundtable program. His 25 years in public media also include serving as vice president of news for Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, host of WNPR’s Where We Live, and regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He was twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show.