Who We Are
Empathy from Experience
We empower and build the leadership skills of formerly incarcerated people; we hire formerly incarcerated people; and we provide cutting-edge organizational leadership that promotes resources for disenfranchised people living in communities that have been marginalized.
A nationally acclaimed reentry program for women, A New Way of Life was established in 1998 by Susan Burton. Ms. Burton struggled to rise above a life of poverty, violence, and loss, and was enmeshed in the cycle of mass incarceration for nearly two decades. After being released from prison for the sixth time, Ms. Burton was finally able to access recovery services in an affluent area of Los Angeles. There she discovered and embraced opportunities that were never offered before. She became determined to bring those resources to areas plagued by poverty and over-incarceration.
Ms. Burton’s vision attracted like-minded community members, including our co-directors Michael Towler and Pamela Marshall. Mr. Towler struggled to find meaningful work after the financial market crashed in 2008, when he was referred to Ms. Burton. He began as a part-time bookkeeper. After being promoted as a full-time accountant, Mr. Towler became our co-director in 2018. Ms. Marshall was navigating life as a single mother when she was connected with Ms. Burton through a transitional welfare to work program. After the program ended, Ms. Marshall was rehired as an administrative assistant before transitioning to family reunification case manager, office manager, and then co-director in 2020.
From its humble beginnings as a single reentry home in South Los Angeles, A New Way of Life has grown into a holistic reentry program. We now have teams dedicated to housing, legal services, workforce and education development, and advocacy. Since our establishment, we have provided housing to over 1,500 formerly incarcerated women, helped reunite more than 400 women with their children, and provided pro bono legal services to more than 3,400 community members with conviction histories.