In this process, I've read two books, both of which I recommend. One is Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson. She was raised as part of the multi-faceted family of the evangelist David Terrell. It is an inside look at a world we most likely do not begin to understand. I can't say I yet understand, but, at least, I've vicariously experienced some small part of what seems a foreign world through her observations and what she remembers and shares.
The other book is Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman. This is a must-read. It is an inside look at our prison system. We all know it is flawed, seriously and tragically flawed, but this puts you right inside, right inside with those who are incarcerated with little hope for change when they are released. The writer knows how blessed she was, and is, with choice, money, family, friends, lawyers, education, blonde hair, and blue eyes, but what about those who aren't.
"The United States has the biggest prison population in the world - we incarcerate 25% of the world's prisoners, though we are only 5% of the world's population. This reliance on prisons is recent: in 1980 we had about 500,00 Americans in prison; now we have more than 2.3 million people locked up. A huge part of that growth is represented by women I did time with - low-level offenders who have made serious mistakes but pose little threat of violence. Most of the women I know from prison have lived lives that were missing opportunities many of us take for granted. It sometimes seems that we have built revolving doors between our poorest communities and correctional facilities, and created perverse financial incentives to keep those prisons full, at taxpayers expense. America has invested heavily in prisons, while the public institutions that actually prevent crime and strengthen communities - schools, hospitals, libraries, museums, community centers - go without."