The Gift of Time: A story of transformation

“I never used to like me,” she says, and then smiles: “Now I really like me.”
— Lilly

Lilly Lewis believes that the day she was sentenced to 7 years in custody for fraud was the day she began to get her life back. An extraordinarily resilient woman, she survived multiple abusive relationships, drug and alcohol addictions, severe mental health problems and losing her children to the care system to become an advocate for reform. Her story is the true story of “criminal women” - all too often vilified in the press as ‘bad women’ when in reality they have faced enormous injustice.

Lilly has worked with the Women’s Justice Initiative from behind bars to turn her life story into a series of inspirational chapters, to help teach others why it is that women might break the law, and to discuss reform of a system that failed her over and over again. Read “The Gift of Time” on our website now.

Lilly has also spoken to BBC journalist Jon Kelly, who has featured her story on the front page of the BBC website.


If you would like to get in touch with Lilly, please write to our Women’s Justice Advocate at

All photographs are by Emma Lynch at the BBC and are reproduced with permission.