"I spent weeks and weeks doing research and getting access to prisons, for example," she says. "I made countless phone calls. I'd contact all kinds of advocacy groups, activists, and outreach groups. It took 3 or 4 weeks just to get to ride with Meals on Wheels," where she eventually found a family willing to open up to her as a subject. The vast scope of her project helped open the door. With such institutions as the Texas Youth Commission, "I had to talk about the project in its entirety to make them understand it was about the state rather than just them, so that they realized that they weren't under the gun and going to be targeted," she recalls.