How one woman finally broke away from a cycle of imprisonment and went on to help hundreds of other women re-enter normal life.
In this engrossing memoir, Burton shares the details of her painful childhood and adolescence: she was sexually molested as a young child, which her mother was aware of but turned a blind eye to; raped at 14, which led to a pregnancy and the birth of her daughter; and worked as a prostitute for money and drugs. But it was the death of her 5-year-old son that threw Burton into a spiral of despair, and she wound up in and out of jail numerous times over the course of 15 years. All those years in jail gave Burton time to question why she continued to use drugs, why she wasn't offered any counseling, like the white prisoners received, and why the judicial system was so biased against black women. When the opportunity arose to make a difference after her final incarceration, Burton embarked on a 20-plus-year campaign to provide the kind of support she knew was missing for women recently released from prison. She successfully executed a complete turnaround of her life, which she chronicles in the second half of this powerful memoir. Burton explains how and why women, especially of color, find themselves at the bottom of the barrel, and given few chances for improvement, and how she has fought to change legislation and the overall handling of prisoners in the state of California. The author speaks a hard but necessary truth, one that should be heard so all prisoners are given a fair chance to re-enter society. Through her strong will and determination, Burton has proven that former prisoners can offer real value to the community and should be given the opportunities to do so.
A dramatic, honest, moving narrative of how hard life can get and how one can still overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity to do good in the world.