Finding a Purpose by Aiding Women Released From Prison

At 46 years old, Susan Burton didn’t have a lot going for her. It was 1997. She was fresh out of jail, and not for the first time. On her way out the prison guard said, “I’ll see you back in a little while.”

It wasn’t unlikely. Years before, Burton’s 5-year-old son had been killed when he ran into the street and was struck by a car being driven by an off-duty police officer. Wild with grief, she took drugs, became addicted, got arrested for a nonviolent crime, went to prison, got out, then did it all over and over again for nearly 20 years. Her relationship with her daughter, who was 15 when her brother died, collapsed.

But this time a friend helped Burton find a job as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman. Wanting to further improve her life by staying off drugs, Burton went to a treatment facility. The help she got in treatment made her realize that there was “another way.” (read more)