Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women

Susan Burton and Cari Lynn. New Press, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-62097-213-7
Burton founder and executive director of A New Way of Life, a nonprofit organization that supports formerly incarcerated women, joins coauthor Lynn (Leg the Spread) to write a compelling memoir about her own journey into social justice activism after multiple imprisonments. A survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault during her childhood, Burton turned to cocaine and crack after her five-year-old son was killed in a hit-and-run incident. Once caught up in California’s prison system, she spent nearly two decades incarcerated or on parole before she was able to break the cycle by fighting for the drug treatment and trauma therapy she needed. The latter half of the book documents Burton’s tireless efforts to effect change­—first helping individual women, released from prison with few resources, to make a new start, and then snowballing advocacy efforts at the state and national level to reshape how the United States treats those with criminal records. Too often, national debates about mass incarceration take place in the abstract world of economics or social science data; rarely do individuals who have been or are currently incarcerated have a place at the policy table. This first-person account of the trauma that incarceration inflicts on individuals and families ties those policy discussions to lived reality. It may also help the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated, and their families know that they are not alone. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 228 pages - 978-1-62097-212-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5436-3973-5
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