Letters from Inside


“You might laugh at me, but I read ‘Becoming Ms. Burton’ Part 2 first. Then, I went back to read Part 1. I was amazed that you had found a mission and not only accomplished it — discovered how it led you to other issues. Reminded me of that saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ You wrote about all the necessary connections you made to help women. I felt so proud of you for all that you’ve done. Especially since you didn’t have to. You chose to. I enjoyed your book and your strength. I thank you.”

D., Central California Women’s Facility (Chowchilla, CA)


“I just LOVE the book. I am almost done and I feel like I know [Susan]. The life that she lived and the amazing things she has accomplished with her life INSPIRE me so much. I wish I could just sit down and tell her my story and how much in common we really have…. Just to know that I can still connect with people out there makes a difference because I feel like a stranger to society and even my own family. I feel like they will never just ‘GET IT’ and she does and it is just so inspiring to read about her life work and connect with her.”

-R., Northeast Reintegration Center (Cleveland, OH)


“One night I picked up your book looking for something positive because I had been going threw so much. I stayed up the whole night (8 1/2 hours) reading your book. Ms. Burton, your book is so inspirational, not just your book, but your story. I never in a life time would have thought a ‘Black woman with a criminal background and that has been to prison’ would be able to accomplish so much. You’ve helped so many women turn their life around. Just being able to have someone such as yourself be a support system, and believe in us women that are and have been incarcerated, is a lot.”

-E., Women’s Community Correctional Center (Kailua, HI)


“I read your book and it was phenomenal and truly inspiring, and I know if you do it, not only myself, but anyone else can too, if they put their heart and mind in line with God’s plan, all things are possible. Thank you for the gift you’ve given to us.”

-W., Cook County Jail (Chicago, IL)


“The work you do touches so many, even white men serving 25 to life for a drug related murder. I have never written to an author like this before, but I just had to write something to say, thank you! I beg you, please keep up the fight. There are still so many damaged people in here who still fight daily with their inner demons, without much help in getting by. As a lifer to find out the whys of my criminal behavior has been so difficult, but I know there is much more ahead of me, with the board process, parole, etc…. I want to give back to my community the same way you have. There are those who need our help everywhere, and you’ve given me hope that I can achieve this dream.”

-D., Avenal State Prison (Avenal, CA)


“I write to you this morning to tell you, I appreciate you! For your compassion and the life work you do. For becoming the human being you are today. For sharing your story. Thank you, it has allowed me to value my life much more. To heal wounds I have lived with for over two decades…. I have been working daily on my personal growth along with the healing process. Reading your story has encouraged me farther along in my journey of being kind, loving and having compassion for everyone. I feel myself moving from a place of impossible to anything is possible.”

– E., California State Prison (Lancaster, CA)


“I am currently incarcerated at Chowchilla. One of the girls in the next room received your book and she thought I would like to read it. It felt like I was reading my diary. Now, I don’t have a long prison or jail record, but a lot of the things you went through and wrote about, I’ve been there and done that. Thank you so much for your openness.”

– S., Central California Women’s Facility (Chowchilla, CA)


“Thank you for the lovely gift. I appreciate you for not giving up on your sister behind the wall. Reading the story in this book tells all women you can achieve your dream.”

-G., California Institute for Women (Corona, CA)


“Thank you for writing ‘Becoming Ms. Burton.’ Your story is changing lives. It is wonderful how you remain selfless and help others break free from the penal system and drug dependency. I have never been an addict, but I’ve been abused in every way imaginable. Filled with a rage that I could not understand nor control landed me in prison. Prison doesn’t give the proper tools to deal with the root of what caused me to be here. For the past five years I’ve been reading every self-help book I could. This is the first time I’ve ever reached out to the author.”

-K., Louisiana State Prison (Angola, LA)


“The ladies reading [“Becoming Ms. Burton”] are really loving it. I have even heard one say she gets goosebumps. I have staff reading it, including my Captain and Chief (who has given her blessing and would also like to come hear Ms. Burton speak). Ever notice how the stars align and things fall into place? We are at a very exciting time here right now, with all the right people in place for some real change. I am thrilled that my Command Staff is so supportive and thrilled Ms. Burton will be here to share her very important story. I think this is all a huge step to a better future.”

-Pamela R., Inmate Programs Manager, California


“I must say, upon completion of reading your memoir and seeing the readers’ note, I felt compelled to write you directly. I have been so fully engrossed in your book I have read into the week hours of the morning, so inspired and intrigued by each turn of the page…. When I read your book, I no longer felt alone. Your story is my story and my story is hers! I hope one day soon I’ll be afforded the opportunity of freedom and exoneration. I would like nothing more than to meet you, apprentice you, assist you and A New Way of Life outreach. You are truly the epitome of a strong black woman! Thank you so much for creating this gem of a memoir. You’re an awesome lady, a mother to all, a motivator, an activator, a mentor. God bless you Ms. Susan Burton!”

-B., Cook County Jail (Chicago, IL)


“Your book has inspired me a great deal…. You’re a very inspiring lady and I want to say thank you for a copy of your book.”

-C., Wrightsville-Hawkins Womens Unit (Little Rock, AR)


“I am currently incarcerated and I been here at Cook County Jail for three years now. And I am being charged with first-degree murder. But Ms. Burton, before I read your book I had lost all hope for myself, and when I read your book I gained all hope back. I gave up on life and everything else. I use to ask myself, why am I living? What’s the reason? Now I have a lot to look for in life. Like going back to school to get my GED because I would like to be a nurse. I love working with people…. Even tho I don’t know you, I truly look up to you, Ms. Burton. You is my role model. You is truly a blessing in people lives.”

-N., Cook County Jail (Chicago, IL)


“I thank you for sharing your thoughts in your book and your personal experiences. It feels nice being able to read something that relates to the struggles I’ve been through…the fact that you made a better life for yourself after being in and out of prison for 15 years, it makes me think I could also do better and get my life on track.”

– J., Los Angeles County juvenile detention


“I sincerely and deeply appreciate the confidence you have given me to change my life. Before, I never thought it was possible…contrary to what many people may believe it is quite hard to get out of the system and stay out. I haven’t ever felt, read and seen the depth and power in words until I read your first page. I try so hard day in and day out to better myself but it’s hard. In the event of reading your book, I have gained/found a hunger in expressing myself in these words on this paper. Like you said power in words…? Right?”

-C., Los Angeles County juvenile detention


“Thank you for your book you sent. It is amazing. Once I found a moment in my busy schedule to read it, I could not put it down. It’s amazing the struggles we make it through and how similar our lives are. You are truly an amazing woman. I am currently on Life Without Possibility of Parole. However, I know many women who have paroled to A New Way of Life and some who are there now. They tell us here how amazing it is to have the support and opportunities you provide. May God continue to bless you through the lives you touch out there and in here through your book.”

– D., Central California Women’s Facility (Chowchilla, CA)


“I just wanted to take the time to thank you for all that you have done for many women released from prison. Now you are also giving us more hope for our futures when you thought of us still here trying to get release dates. Sending your book was like sending out a life line, a ray of hope, something to hold onto until our time comes. I thank you from the depth of my heart.”

– C., Central California Women’s Facility (Chowchilla, CA)