Tattoo removal: An essential part of reintegration
While his tattoos played a part in his survival behind bars, they now reminded him of the anguish he’d felt throughout those years. It was time for a new start, and having unwanted markings on his wrist and arm—an “MOB” tattoo on his wrist done with a guitar string attached to the motor of a Walkman and a “Stink” tattoo on his arm for the nickname he’d gone by as a teenager—didn’t help.
On August 14, 2019, on National Tattoo Removal Day, he received laser tattoo removal through the Removery: INK-nitiative program. “By removing the physical scars of my past, I have a clean slate to embark upon the next chapter of my life and career, now working to reform the criminal justice system. I am forever grateful”.
His advocacy work
Terrance wants to help others who have been wrongfully locked away in prison—like, he believes, his co-defendant, who he says was an innocent bystander. He started the Terrance Lewis Liberation Foundation to contest misconduct by the police and prosecution. He has also worked to lobby legislators to provide resources for those who have been wrongfully convicted, like immediate expungement of charges as well as compensation to help them get on their feet.
The state of Pennsylvania, where Terrance lives, provides no reentry program or support for exonerated people, like 33 other states in the U.S. Many deal with PTSD and have difficulty navigating common situations like being in crowds due to the sense of panic they generate.
Using his legal knowledge, Lewis has also filed a lawsuit exposing the city of Philadelphia’s egregious misconduct in its investigation of his case. The prosecution intentionally suppressed evidence that could have cleared his name before conviction, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Do you have tattoos that are holding you back? Apply for the INKNITIATIVE so you can boldly take the next steps that will lead you to the future you deserve!