The 21st Show

Susan Burton’s Journey From Prison To Fighting For Incarcerated Women; NPR’s Sam Sanders


University of Illinois

On the 21st: We speak with activist Susan Burton about her extraordinary journey from being incarcerated to becoming one of the nation's foremost advocates for incarcerated women. Plus, Sam Sanders, host of NPR's 'It's Been A Minute,' joins us on the heels of a live show in Chicago.

The United States incarcerated more than 2.2 million people behind bars according to the latest government data—more than any other country in the world.

And since 1980, the incarceration rate for women has increased 700 percent. Most of these women are imprisoned for nonviolent offenses. And when they’re released, the challenge is staying out.

And if you recall from earlier this week when we talked about the Kewanee Life Skills Re-entry Center, Illinois’ recidivism rate is around 45 percent.

But among the women one California nonprofit works with, in 2015, 96 percent stayed out of percent. That’s a 4 percent recidivism rate.

It’s called A New Way of Life. And they say they’ve been able to help these California women with successful reentry at about half the cost it took to incarcerate these women.

Susan Burton is the founder of A New Way of Life. She’s also the author of Becoming Ms. Burton, which chronicles her own extraordinary life story from incarceration to creating A New Way of Life.

Ms. Burton is here because she’s been visiting with University of Illinois’s Education Justice Project, and we had a chance to sit down with her.


Whether you wanna talk politics, Drake or find out how to talk to your parents as an American immigrant -- or get NPR’s Nina Totenberg to start singing opera - there’s one NPR host who can help.

You may know Sam Sanders from the NPR Politics podcast or his own show It’s Been a Minute, which you can catch online or on a couple of public radio stations throughout Illinois, including our home station, WILL.

We caught up with Sam, who was in Chicago for a live show on Tuesday.

Story source: WILL