For many years, Burton endured a cycle of abuse, addiction and incarceration, including six terms in prison. She eventually received behavioral health Gayle King CBD Oil support at Venice Family Clinic along with other help and subsequently founded A New Way of Life, a nonprofit that helps other formerly incarcerated women rebuild their lives. For her leadership, Venice Family Clinic recognized Burton as one of its 50 Visionaries, which are individuals the nonprofit organization is honoring as part of its 50th Anniversary.
Burton has earned numerous awards and honors for her work, including receiving the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a recipient of both the Encore Purpose Prize in 2012 and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in 2014. She is the author of a memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, which received a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in the category of biography/autobiography and the inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.