Piper Kerman, a Smith graduate from a well-to-do loving family, spent a year in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution for drug related charges. In her candid memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, she vividly shares the fears and regrets of her time there.
Directly after graduation Piper begins associating with an older interesting woman that travels internationally. Soon she is involved in this woman’s drug smuggling and money laundering activities. Recognizing the foolishness of this Piper begins a new life, falls in love and has a successful job. Ten years later the Feds catch up with the drug ring.
Piper owns up to her crime and shares the foolishness of her former activities as she relates the story of prison life in a minimum security prison. We meet the wide variety of woman whom she befriends and learn the sad story of the poverty cycle which causes so many to return to their illegal activities and end up right back in prison. The heartbreak she viewed as children come to visit incarcerated mothers was one of the worst experiences. She spends her time reading, exercising and learning the electrical trade. The guards were a mixture of hateful and decent men and women.
Piper is now a vice-president at a Washington D.C communications firm that works with foundations and non-profits. She has been interviewed on NPR.org.