South Los Angeles resident Susan Burton found herself caught up in the prison system following the tragic death of her 5-year-old son, who was killed after being hit by a van driving down their street.
For more than a decade as Burton cycled in and out of prison, not once was she offered therapy or treatment for her addictions. Through actions of her own, she eventually found a private drug rehabilitation facility.
In “Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” authors Susan Burton and Cari Lynn address the impact of mass incarceration and highlight the structural and policy changes needed to offer formerly incarcerated women the possibility of a better life.
In the past few decades, the population of incarcerated women has greatly increased.
Dubbed the “Modern Day Harriet Tubman” by activist/author Michelle Alexander, for her role in leading the fight for incarcerated women, Burton knows firsthand the challenges women face once leaving prison and attempting to reintegrate into society.
“Over 80 percent of incarcerated women have experienced trauma prior to incarceration so a challenge is finding a place to heal from that and address it,” Burton said.
And upon their release, women deal with both their original trauma and the effects of their incarceration, Burton added.
The author’s intended audience for her book is the general public and policy makers.
Burton currently lives in South Los Angeles. She is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization, A New Way Of Life, which provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women.
On Sept. 15, Burton will participate in a book signing and lecture at the annual Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University. For information, please visit justiceontrialfilmfestival.net.
“Becoming Ms. Burton” is available for $25.95 online at becomingmsburton.com and at Eso Won Books.