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Susan Burton
Founder and Executive Director, A New Way of Life

Susan Burton and her story of perseverance in overcoming overwhelming odds is an inspiration to women across the United States, particularly formerly incarcerated women and women in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs. After cycling in an out of the criminal justice system for nearly fifteen years, Susan gained freedom and sobriety and founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project in 1998. She opened her doors to other women returning home from prisons and jails, offering shelter, safety, leadership, and support to those seeking to rebuild their lives. Dedicating her life to helping other women break the cycle of incarceration, homelessness, addiction and despair, Susan became a recognized leader in the criminal justice reform and reentry rights movements.

Susan was recently nominated as a CNN Top 10 Hero in the category of “community crusader.” She was also awarded the Citizen Activist Award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010. She has been a Soros Justice Fellow, a Women’s Policy Institute Fellow, and a former Community Fellow under the Violence Prevention Initiative of The California Wellness Foundation. Susan is a longtime Board Member of the Los Angeles Sober Living Network that provides housing for thousands of people in in Los Angeles who would otherwise be homeless. In 2007 Susan was appointed to Governor Schwarzenegger‘s Little Hoover Sentencing Reform Commission and Gender Responsive Strategies Commission. Susan completed a Chemical Dependency Certificate course at Southwest College in Winter 2002, as well as certificate programs in Non-Violent Organizing and Three Principles of Human Development at UCLA.

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