June 1 2015

Los Angeles Times: Under Prop. 47, former felons find themselves shedding a stifling label


…Susan Burton knows what the first day out of jail can feel like.So after she got sober in the late ’90s, she started spending time at a spot downtown where buses dumped women just released from custody. If they had no place to go, she invited them to come stay on a bunk bed in her bungalow in South L.A. Her hospitality grew into a reentry program with five homes that helps women reunite with their children after their release.But her career path kept hitting the same roadblock: her own felony drug record.Five years ago, she drove to a prison in Chino to speak to women in the cosmetology school there about how to get plugged into a community after their release. But when she arrived, she learned she’d been denied access. She felt crushed. Then mad.”It’s crazy,” she said, her voice dropping to a hiss of a whisper. “What do I do to redeem myself? What else could I possibly do?

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