It was "The Death House" that saved Dewey. "The Death House" is the nickname for that building at Sing Sing where electrocutions once took place. The electric chair had been removed and a boxing ring was set up over the same space.
Dewey stepped between the ropes. He proved to be a good fighter and eventually became the light heavyweight champ of Sing Sing. A Golden Gloves champ named Lou Del Valle was brought in to fight him. Del Valle would later knock down Roy Jones Jr. when Jones was the best fighter on the planet. Dewey gave Del Valle all he could handle until the fight was stopped on cuts. But that wasn't the point.
Boxing gave Dewey balance. It gave him a sense of release, of discipline and focus. It structured his time. The heavy bag, speed bag and sit-ups led to educational classes that filled Dewey's days as he awaited his appeal. Seven years after his conviction, Dewey got a retrial.