Mary Barr is a former crack cocaine addict and prostitute who now works as a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and as an advocate for addicts and sex workers.
During Mary's time on the streets, she was arrested 50 times in 5 years, beaten, stabbed, raped, and left for dead. All the while, she was battling a crippling addiction, which eventually resulted in the loss of her children to Child Protective Services.
A chance encounter with a social worker at Riker's Island Prison opened the door to her recovery when she was told, simply, "you don't have to live like this anymore."
In this two-part interview, Mary takes us on a harrowing journey through her life, recounting in vivid and brutally honest detail her descent into addiction, the hell she faced being forced to sell herself, and the indomitable strength she pulled upon to push her way out of the life and begin again.