Orange Is the New Black Writer: Prison Plan Is Dumb
Piper Kerman says shipping female inmates across country is misguided
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2013 1:57 PM CDT
Piper Kerman.   (

(Newser) – Piper Kerman might be one of the most popular ex-cons in the nation right now, thanks to Orange is the New Black, the Netflix series based on her memoir of prison life. Now that she's on the outside and working as a prisoners' advocate, Kerman is putting that clout to use: In a New York Times op-ed, she argues that the government's plan to transfer women out of the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut—where she served 11 months for a non-violent drug offense—and ship them elsewhere across the country is cruel and unusual.

"This added geographic separation may as well be a second sentence for these women, who already have to make it through prison with limited visits from family, and for their children, who still need and want their moms," writes Kerman. Most would go to Alabama, which "might as well be the moon" for the prisoners' families. The Bureau of Prisons should reverse the move, she writes. Or better yet, they could use a program such as JusticeHome, which allows prisoners—say those who got caught up in unduly harsh drug laws—to remain at home with their kids, subject to supervisory visits. It's "an effective way to reduce crime and to stop a cycle that can condemn entire families to the penal system." Click for Kerman's full column.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
Aug 14, 2013 9:39 PM CDT
Piper is certainly the most visible female prison advocate mouthing such sexist views. Perhaps the 'Danbury Disaster' will go away when the BOP finds a like number of male offenders who have no family issues while wasting away. Heck yeah, send the boys to Alabama! Let's have Mr. F. Gump outfit them with shrimp boats. They can become "productive wage slaves" while serving the time they deserve. I can hardly wait for the movie. Where would we hold the Sock Hop?
Aug 14, 2013 8:47 PM CDT
Everyone knows you have to pay Congress a lot of money in order to be allowed to push drugs.
Aug 14, 2013 8:36 PM CDT
Yes, relocating prisoners away from their home region is cruel and unusual punishment, not only for the prisoners, but also for their families. Jared Loughner, the young man who shot Congresswoman Gaby Giffords and several others in Tucson, was relocated to a midwestern prison. His crime is terrible, but he is insane. Can our society be any more barbaric than to treat someone with an incurable brain disease like this. I can't imagine how his parents must suffer. He should be in a hospital for the criminally insane.