Orange Is the New Black: My Time in a Women's Prison

Orange Is the New Black: My Time in a Women's Prison - Piper Kerman

Honestly not what I was expecting at all. It was funny, sad, and horrifying all at the same time. I realize (as MANY other reviews point out) that Piper's story is a rare one. Very few people out through the American Prison System have the love and support of so many people.

I wasn't blown away by the book, some things stood out for me, a little too much repetition, and a bit of confusion as to who was who, but over all I really enjoyed this book.

Regardless of how common her situation is she still goes from a free woman to a locked up criminal (regardless of the level of security).

It is easy for many people to say that she is whining about being sent to jail in the first place and that her memoir was written to further that whining. I don't see that to be the case. With this memoir, it feels (at least to me) that Piper is trying to share her time behind bars for two main reasons.

The first is to give the rest of America (and beyond) a glimpse into a system that is a little more real than Martha Stewart's. She highlights in the book that Stewart's trial (and subsequent arrest) was at its height during her year in prison. Her "time in jail", as well as the story a fellow inmate told the press about; makes jail seam like a vacation. While Piper's story is not from the other end of the spectrum, it still allows for more of an inside view into the US Correctional System.

The second and more important reason I found in the memoir was to show to general population that the lengths and severities of jail sentences do not always match the crime and can often be based upon looks and wealth. Piper talks about many of her fellow inmates and how, for many of them shorter sentencing and then community service and parole, would be a more effective use of tax payers money and would allow better transition from their criminal pasts. Like mentioned in the memoir prisoners need to forget about the outside world in order to sanely get though their 'time' inside. Depending on how hard that is they many have a hard time adjusting to 'normal' life again.

A brief glimpse of this even within the prison walls itself is he transfers from maximum -to-minimum lockup. Many inmates don't know how to handle so much freedom.

Don't get me wrong, I in no way condone the drug smuggling business, but after reading Piper's memoir I find it a huge waste of money to have people like Piper in prison. $30000 (or more) to keep her in prison, or she could have be doing community service and contributing to society.