Everyone needs a place to live. Everyone needs a place to come home to every night. I don't understand why our society, our government, can think that you can lock a person away for months or years... and then release them back after they pay their debt without any support and expect it to be okay.
I knew I wasn't born to be caged and chained up.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery other than in prisons - but it was a lie that you regained your freedom once you left the prison gates.
When you get locked up, you get locked out.
Unless we address those that are leaving prisons, we can't begin to repair the damage of mass incarceration and make our communities whole and healthy once again.
Education, hard work, dedication, a support system, and knowing my life had value - these were what had made all the difference.
Long before I ever got incarcerated, I should've been able to access services that help me deal with the grief and the loss of my son, that help me deal with the trauma, the abuse that I experienced as a child.
Nothing good could ever have come of my life if I hadn't been able to get therapy and overcome my addictions.
We continue to work on policy to end discrimination against people with criminal records.
Our ancestors went through so much in a fight for us to vote. So I believe that we should engage in all civic participation. It's healthy engagement.
Life has took me on a journey, and through much of that journey, I didn't feel whole, connected, and grounded. So as a kid, everyone called me Sue. My daddy called me Susie Q. But through this journey, I've sort of risen to a place that I get this level of respect of Ms. Burton.
It has to be about more than punishment. We need to rehabilitate people. We lock up far too many people in America today. We lock them up as if locking them up is gonna solve the problem. And locking them up does not solve the problem. Did locking me up make me better? No, it did not. It made my struggle harder.
We're willing to spend countless dollars putting people who need help in cages, and then when they get out we say you can't have a job, and you can't have housing, and because you don't have either, we're going to take your kids, too.
A New Way of Life is a safe house that women can come to after they're released from prison in South Los Angeles. It's a place for women to detox the trauma, the torture of incarceration, be welcomed and embraced and live and begin their new path to - if it's recovery or receiving mental health services, go back to school, get their children back.
I knew hundreds and hundreds of women like me, who had traveled in and out of prison in a revolving door. They needed support and help just like I had received. And it could make a difference, just like it had made a difference in my life. I wanted to see them come back to the community and have a chance at a different life, too.
Morning meditation is important to start every day on a positive note.
Because a woman goes to prison doesn't mean she's a bad mom - doesn't mean that she shouldn't have her children.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes people slip, but that doesn't mean they're not worthy of the support.
People are released from prison so unprepared. They give you $200. We call it gate money. And you have to pay for a bus ticket back to L.A. You get off the Greyhound bus, downtown Skid Row, and you're supposed to make a life from that.
Each time I left prison, I left with the resolve to get my life together, to get a job, to get back on track. And each time, the task became more and more and more daunting.