• Sat
  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:15am

Orange is the New Black

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am

Orange is the New Black
by Piper Kerman
Spiegel & Grau (e-book)

Knowing the book is about a woman's imprisonment in the US, you expect to read about violence, drugs, sexual abuse, sadistic guards, and the like. Instead, the year spent by 'ex-lesbian, boho-Wasp' Piper Kerman in a federal women's jail in Connecticut - in connection with a drug-smuggling operation - proved contrary to such popular conceptions. As she acknowledges, her biggest discomfort was the lack of privacy. There were rules, such as the one that forced inmates to pull their pants down, squat and cough (to ensure nothing was being concealed), but hers was also a prison in which inmates decorated each other's rooms to celebrate birthdays and made coffee for each other. Some even lived with seeing-eye dogs that they were training. Kerman's crime was to have helped launder money for an ex-lover, whom she meets again at the end of her prison term. The message she tries to convey is that the US justice system 'overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate and doesn't make us safer'. Readers can make up their own minds about whether Kerman deserved being jailed.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or