Susan Burton is highly praised for opening her home up to strangers. She also provides other resources to offer safe healing environments for the women being released from prisons. She’s helping these ex-inmates create new purpose-filled lives.
The Birth of Susan Burton’s New Purpose-Filled Life
Very few people will be willing to welcome fresh ex-convicts to their homes because of uncertainty and fear. But that did not stop Burton from doing it. However, she didn’t just do it blindly.
Susan Burton had known a lot of incarcerated women during her approximately two decades of moving in and out of imprisonment herself. She was actually a prison mom parenting from behind bars.
It was after her 6th release that someone intervened to help her. Her savior gave her recovery resources and services that she had never been given before… or even known existed.
This helped her begin to realize her purpose in life.
Are Prisons the Best Choice for Alcoholic & Drug Addict Offenders?
As she began to heal, Burton realized that she wasn’t really meant to be in prison. She had been convicted of using:
- Illicit Drugs
However, Burton had only been using the substances to curb her unrelenting broken heart… so her addiction told her. She was suffering from unresolved traumas caused by:
- Sexual abuse
- The death of her son
Burton Finds Her Purpose: A New Way of Life
So when Burton recalled most of the women she left behind, she realized that, like her, they too, didn’t belong there. They had not committed violent offenses.
Burton decided to do something about it and founded an organization called A New Way of Life. It’s a re-entry project for women who have spent decades in prisons.
In 2017, A New Way of Life helped such newly released women rejoin with about 200 of the children they left behind… their own Forgotten Victims of Crime. Most of their children grew to adulthood without the presence of their mothers in their daily lives.
Burton’s efforts have enabled these women to embrace the opportunity of having freedom in their lives, again. They have spent most of their adult lives behind bars. So, some of the changes they feel after being released include:
- Changed neighborhoods
- Utilization of computers & internet
- Using cell phones
- New public transportation
- Employment issues
- Finishing school
- Learning to drive again
But despite most of these new release issues being strange to them, Burton says the ex-convicts in A New Way of Life have been catching up very fast.
Video: A New Way of Life Reentry Project – Susan Burton Goes Hard on the Cops
Check out the video below. This shows just how hard Burton will go to protect the women in her re-entry program. She is no joke.
Helping Women Ex-Prisoners Create New Purpose-Filled Lives
Most of the newly released women have successfully learned new skills and went to college, through Burton’s foundation. She sees the pride in helping them learn how to create new purpose-filled lives for themselves.
Most women view Burton’s assistance as next stage of their lives. They realize that it’s never too late for them to contribute to the families and society. Now they lead lives with true purpose and meaning.
In November 2017, Burton walked into Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, AL. There she met Geneva Cooley, a 70-year-old African American woman.
Cooley was sentenced to 999-years, 99-months and 99-days in prison for boarding a train with drugs. Burton says that meeting Cooley seared her spirit.
A New Way of Life Gets Support from Woman Ex-Prisoner
The two had been in prison together. The woman began working in a prison ministry immediately after finishing her sentence.
Handing her the check, the woman told Burton how the founder of A New Way of Life had changed her. She was far from the way she used to be while in prison. The woman now had a new purpose-filled life of her own.
Such stories show both the tragedy of mass incarceration created by over-imprisonment and how linking promise with opportunity can help improves lives.
Burton credits her success to her old age and maturity. She says her old age has helped her change the lives of many women newly released from prisons. She plans to build even more safe houses for women recently released from prisons in various locations.
A New Way of Life poses a challenge to everyone that it’s never too late for anyone still breathing. As long as you are alive, you can make a difference and help others create purpose-filled lives