Shining a Light Beyond Bars


For those that missed the first of our two-part blog series, we shared details on Peritus’ recent book club read The Sun Does Shine, and our resulting roundtable discussion with author Anthony Hinton, who found light again after serving 30 years on Alabama’s death row.

This life-changing evening left us longing to learn more – a desire to dig deeper and gain more insight on Alabama’s criminal justice system and the gravity of an issue so profoundly impacting our state.

We decided to reach out to one of Alabama’s most influential thought leaders on criminal justice, Beth Shelburne—a well-respected local reporter and award-winning investigative journalist whose coverage of this topic our team has been following closely.

Beth graciously showed up and fully opened her heart to us. She shared personal stories and perspectives about conversations she’s had with inmates, their families and former officers. She blew us away with her knowledge and resilient determination to bring prison reform awareness. We left our discussion with a greater sense of purpose, clarity and compassion for those impacted by Alabama’s prison system.

Like Beth, our team believes that our communications talents can shed light on this situation.

Here are a few takeaways from our evenings with Beth and Anthony we wanted to share with our readers

“Beth and Anthony helped us understand the dire need to improve basic rights for our fellow neighbors impacted by the criminal justice system—education access, job support, mental health resources and lines of communication to families. Finding local organizations that are supporting these efforts and volunteering time, resources and manpower can help improve fellow Alabama residents’ transitions back into society.” - Louise

“While Anthony’s incredible story of resilience sheds light on Alabama’s criminal justice system, Beth’s current reporting shows there are still issues that need attention – like proper pre and postnatal care for incarcerated women. As a mother myself, I’m especially encouraged by organizations like the Alabama Prison Birth Project with a vision to create positive, long-lasting change for these mothers.” - Erin


“Anthony and Beth have opened our eyes, ears, and hearts by shining a light and confronting the harsh reality of our state’s broken prison system. By sharing their insight and experiences, they have inspired our team to continue educating ourselves on this critical issue and do our part to help make a difference.” - Hanlon


“We are fortunate to have people like Anthony Ray Hinton and Beth Shelburne who share their experiences to inspire change. While there is much work to be done to Alabama’s prison system and issues surrounding it, our team is encouraged by those who speak up and use their voice to make a difference in the state.” - Mary Elizabeth


“Our conversations with Beth and Anthony were both enlightening, heartbreaking and impactful to our entire team. We learned that education, empathy and compassion for humankind can go a long way to improve the culture inside our prisons, as well as prepare for life after prison to positively impact all areas of our state.” - Sally


“Our team has gained a deeper understanding of the issues facing Alabama’s criminal justice system through the perspectives of Anthony Ray Hinton and Beth Shelburne. Through Ray’s impactful and moving story and Beth’s tenacity and depth of knowledge, I’m inspired by the work they’re doing alongside many others to educate on the harsh realities of this issue and advocate for change.” - Samantha


“Being unfamiliar with the realities of the prison system two months ago, I was moved by the enlightening work of Beth Shelburne. Gaining a greater understanding of Alabama’s current criminal justice system is the first step to move our state forward.” - Victoria


“I was humbled for the opportunity to join Beth for a frank conversation about the realities of our prison system. Through offering personal anecdotes, she truly humanized those affected by the shortcomings of the Alabama Department of Corrections. Now, we are motivated on a very personal level to continue learning about the issue and use our skills as communicators bring to light those who have been denied justice.” - Bella

Let’s continue to build awareness on issues —like prison reform—impacting our communities to help Alabama shine brighter.

My PUBLISHED by Peritus takeaway is this:

Our team had the courage to roll up our sleeves and explore a serious issue that is not a lighthearted topic to discuss, nor is it easily resolved. It has required hours of additional research, tough conversations and continued resource sharing to build awareness within Peritus to help us shed light on this situation.

We continue to blaze a trail forward because we believe in change. Whether you have an interest in mental health, maternity rights, literacy or policy, you can create change through getting involved with a prison outreach program. Reach out to if you want to learn more on how you can help support this critical issue.