Press Release

Susan Burton, founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, pardoned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom


Gov. Newsom issued a pardon to Burton after the California Supreme Court determined her eligibility in a closed session on Tuesday.

LOS ANGELES — Susan Burton, founder of a Los Angeles-based non-profit that provides formerly incarcerated women with housing and supportive services, has been issued a full pardon by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

The Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday that the California Supreme Court had cleared the way for Newsom to pardon Burton, who founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project in Watts in 1998. Burton received a call from the governor’s office later that night letting her know that Newsom had signed the pardon. According to a statement from Newsom’s office, the pardon “does not minimize past conduct; it recognizes a person’s subsequent progress and accomplishments. A pardon does not expunge or erase the conviction.” Burton was originally granted a certificate of rehabilitation by the Superior Court of California in 2004.

Burton cycled in and out of prison for nearly two decades on drug-related convictions after a childhood of sexual abuse and the death of her five-year-old son led to addiction and despair. Following her last term in prison, Burton gained her sobriety at the CLARE Foundation in Santa Monica in October 1997. Wondering why South Los Angeles didn’t offer similar services, Burton opened up her own home to women who had just left prison and needed a place to live. Today, A New Way of Life has eight safe homes in Los Angeles and Long Beach, where more than 1,100 formerly incarcerated women have found safety, hope and opportunity. 

“I am thrilled that Governor Newsom has granted me a pardon,” Burton said Thursday. “One of the rights that’s most important to me is being able to serve on a jury, and I look forward to being able to do that now.”

A copy of Burton’s pardon can be found here.




About A New Way of Life

In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) to help women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification and individual healing. ANWOL also works to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people and empowering, organizing and mobilizing advocates for social change, civic engagement and personal transformation.

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