NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there. Praise for Orange Is the New Black “Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”—People (four stars) “I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love “This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”—Los Angeles Times “Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”—USA Today “It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her; convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous women's prison in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424. From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with tokens of generosity, hard truths and simple acts of acceptance. Now an original comedy-drama series from Netflix, Piper's story is a fascinating, heartbreaking and often hilarious insight into life on the inside.
Author: Cristina Rathbone
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Social Science
“Life in a women’s prison is full of surprises,” writes Cristina Rathbone in her landmark account of life at MCI-Framingham. And so it is. After two intense court battles with prison officials, Rathbone gained unprecedented access to the otherwise invisible women of the oldest running women’s prison in America. The picture that emerges is both astounding and enraging. Women reveal the agonies of separation from family, and the prevalence of depression, and of sexual predation, and institutional malaise behind bars. But they also share their more personal hopes and concerns. There is horror in prison for sure, but Rathbone insists there is also humor and romance and downright bloody-mindedness. Getting beyond the political to the personal, A World Apart is both a triumph of empathy and a searing indictment of a system that has overlooked the plight of women in prison for far too long. At the center of the book is Denise, a mother serving five years for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Denise’s son is nine and obsessed with Beanie Babies when she first arrives in prison. He is fourteen and in prison himself by the time she is finally released. As Denise struggles to reconcile life in prison with the realities of her son’s excessive freedom on the outside, we meet women like Julie, who gets through her time by distracting herself with flirtatious, often salacious relationships with male correctional officers; Louise, who keeps herself going by selling makeup and personalized food packages on the prison black market; Chris, whose mental illness leads her to kill herself in prison; and Susan, who, after thirteen years of intermittent incarceration, has come to think of MCI-Framingham as home. Fearlessly truthful and revelatory, A World Apart is a major work of investigative journalism and social justice. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Silja J. A. Talvi
Publisher: Seal Press
Release Date: 2007-11-02
Genre: Social Science
More and more women—mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, and sisters—are doing hard prison time all across the United States. Many of them are facing the prospect of years, decades, even lifetimes behind bars. Oddly, there’s been little public discussion about the dramatic increase of women in the prison system. What exactly is happening here, and why? The answers are in Women Behind Bars, in which investigative journalist Silja Talvi sheds light on why American girls and women are being locked up at such unprecedented rates. Talvi travels across the country to weave together interviews with inmates, correctional officers, and administrators, providing readers with a glance at the impact incarceration has on our society. With a combination of compassion and critical analysis, Talvi delivers a timely, in-depth analysis of a growing and extremely complicated issue.
Author: Nawāl Saʻdāwī
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1986
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Provides an account of the author's twenty-two day term in a women's prison in Egypt, where she was held on charges of attacking the ruling system, and where she stayed until President Sadat was assassinated
Author: Ayelet Waldman
Publisher: Verso Books
Release Date: 2017-07-25
Genre: Social Science
Inside This Place, Not of It reveals some of the most egregious human rights violations within women’s prisons in the United States. In their own words, the thirteen narrators in this book recount their lives leading up to incarceration and their experiences inside—ranging from forced sterilization and shackling during childbirth, to physical and sexual abuse by prison staff. Together, their testimonies illustrate the harrowing struggles for survival that women in prison must endure.
The real-life Alex Vause from the critically acclaimed, top-rated Netflix show Orange Is the New Black tells her story in her own words for the first time—a powerful, surprising memoir about crime and punishment, friendship and marriage, and a life caught in the ruinous drug trade and beyond. Fans nationwide have fallen in love with Orange Is the New Black, the critically acclaimed and wildly popular Netflix show based on Piper Kerman’s sensational #1 New York Times bestseller. Now, Catherine Cleary Wolters—the inspiration for Alex Vause, Piper’s ex-girlfriend, friend, and sometimes-romantic partner on the show—tells her true story, offering details and insights that fill in the blanks, set the record straight, and answer common fan questions. An insightful, frustrating, heartbreaking, and uplifting analysis of crime and punishment in our times, Out of Orange is an intimate look at international drug crime—a seemingly glamorous lifestyle that dazzles unsuspecting young women and eventually leads them to the seedy world of prison. Told by a woman originally thrust into the spotlight without her permission—Wolters learned about Piper’s memoir in the media—Out of Orange chronicles Wolter’s time in the drug trade, her incarceration, her friendships and acquaintances with odd cellmates, her two marriages, and her complicated relationship with Piper. But Wolters is not solely defined by her past; she also reflects on her life and the person she is today. Filled with colorful characters, fascinating tales, painful sobering lessons, and hard-earned wisdom, Out of Orange is sure to be provocative, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring.
Author: Joycelyn M. Pollock
Publisher: Wadsworth Pub Co
Release Date: 2002
This text takes a comprehensive look at women in America's prisons, covering the history of women's prisons, crime rates, and sentencing practices. It provides detailed descriptions of prisoner subcultures, programs, management and staff issues, and legal issues of female prisoners, while also expanding beyond U.S. soil to compare women's prisons in other countries.
Author: Carolyn Sufrin
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2017-06-06
Genre: Social Science
Thousands of pregnant women pass through our nation’s jails every year. What happens to them as they gestate their pregnancies in a space of punishment? Using her ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an Ob/Gyn in a women’s jail, Carolyn Sufrin explores how, in this time when the public safety net is frayed and incarceration has become a central and racialized strategy for managing the poor, jail has, paradoxically, become a place where women can find care. Focusing on the experiences of pregnant, incarcerated women as well as on the practices of the jail guards and health providers who care for them, Jailcare describes the contradictory ways that care and maternal identity emerge within a punitive space presumed to be devoid of care. Sufrin argues that jail is not simply a disciplinary institution that serves to punish. Rather, when understood in the context of the poverty, addiction, violence, and racial oppression that characterize these women’s lives and their reproduction, jail can become a safety net for women on the margins of society.
"Written with primal intensity, touched with redeeming compassion, Rudy Wiebe--has explored our history, our roots and the secrets of our hearts with moral seriousness and great feeling." - Governor General's Award for Fiction Citation, l994 A powerful, major work of non-fiction, beautifully written, with the impact of Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, from the twice winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear. This is a story about justice, and terrible injustices, a story about a murder, and a courtroom drama as compelling as any thriller as it unravels the events that put Yvonne Johnson behind bars for life, first in Kingston's Federal Prison for Women until the riot that closed it, and presently in the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in the Cypress Hills. But above all it is the unforgettable true story of the life of a Native woman who has decided to speak out and break the silence, written with the redeeming compassion that marks all Rudy Wiebe's writing, and informed throughout by Yvonne Johnson's own intelligence and poetic eloquence. Characters and events spring to life with the vividness of fiction. The story is told sometimes in the first person by Rudy Wiebe, sometimes by Yvonne herself. He tracks down the details of Yvonne's early life in Butte, Montana, as a child with a double-cleft palate, unable to speak until the kindness of one man provided the necessary operations; the murder of her beloved brother while in police custody; her life of sexual abuse at the hands of another brother, grandfather and others; her escape to Canada - to Winnipeg and Wetaskiwin; the traumas of her life that led to alcoholism, and her slow descent into hell despite the love she found with her husband and three children. He reveals how she participated, with three others, in the murder of the man she believed to be a child abuser; he unravels the police story, taking us step by step, with jail-taped transcripts, through the police attempts to set one member of the group against the others in their search for a conviction - and the courtroom drama that followed. And Yvonne openly examines her life and, through her grandmother, comes to understand the legacy she has inherited from her ancestor Big Bear; having been led through pain to wisdom, she brings us with her to the point where she finds spiritual strength in passing on the lessons and understandings of her life. How the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear reached out to the author of The Temptations of Big Bear to help her tell her story is itself an extraordinary tale. The co-authorship between one of Canada's foremost writers and the only Native woman in Canada serving life imprisonment for murder has produced a deeply moving, raw and honest book that speaks to all of us, and gives us new insight into the society we live in, while offering a deeply moving affirmation of spiritual healing. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Sue Ellen Allen
Publisher: Inkwell Productions
Release Date: 2010-08-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Early on the morning of December 12, 2002, I arrived at Perryville prison in a cold, white MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) van with several other women. Besides my battle with breast cancer, I'd been up all night in the jail in a freezing cold concrete holding cell, and I was tired, anxious, and numb. I had no idea what was in store for me. It turned out to be an unforgettable journey, one that filled me with fear, sorrow, and joy. I met people I never would have in my previous life and experienced things I would not have believed possible. Some were horrific, demeaning, and inhumane; some were wonderful. Gina was part of the wonderful.”
Author: Susan Burton
Publisher: The New Press
Release Date: 2017-05-09
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Winner of the 49th NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Biography/Autobiography) Winner of the 2017 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice “Valuable . . . [like Michelle] Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.” —Los Angeles Review of Books “Susan Burton is a national treasure . . . her life story is testimony to the human capacity for resilience and recovery . . . [Becoming Ms. Burton is] a stunning memoir.” —Nicholas Kristof, in The New York Times One woman’s remarkable odyssey from tragedy to prison to recovery—and recognition as a leading figure in the national justice reform movement Susan Burton’s world changed in an instant when her five-year-old son was killed by a van driving down their street. Consumed by grief and without access to professional help, Susan self-medicated, becoming addicted first to cocaine, then crack. As a resident of South Los Angeles, a black community under siege in the War on Drugs, it was but a matter of time before Susan was arrested. She cycled in and out of prison for over fifteen years; never was she offered therapy or treatment for addiction. On her own, she eventually found a private drug rehabilitation facility. Once clean, Susan dedicated her life to supporting women facing similar struggles. Her organization, A New Way of Life, operates five safe homes in Los Angeles that supply a lifeline to hundreds of formerly incarcerated women and their children—setting them on the track to education and employment rather than returns to prison. Becoming Ms. Burton not only humanizes the deleterious impact of mass incarceration, it also points the way to the kind of structural and policy changes that will offer formerly incarcerated people the possibility of a life of meaning and dignity.
Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
Release Date: 2009-06-16
The bestselling author of Maine brings us a sparkling tale of friendship and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose. Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancé she left behind in Savannah; Sally, preppy and obsessively neat, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately. Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencement follows these unlikely friends through college and the years beyond, brilliantly capturing the complicated landscape facing young women today.
Author: Angela Y. Davis
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Release Date: 2011-01-04
Genre: Political Science
With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable. In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.
Author: James Phelps
Publisher: Ebury Australia
Release Date: 2017-07-03
Genre: Female offenders
Ivan Milat, the notorious backpacker serial killer, is not the most feared person in the prison system. Nor is it Martin Bryant, the man responsible for claiming 35 lives in the Port Arthur massacre. No, the person in Australia controversially ruled 'too dangerous to be released', the one who needs chains, leather restraints and a full-time posse of guards is Rebecca Butterfield- a self-mutilating murderer, infamous for slicing guards and stabbing another inmate 33 times. But Butterfield is not alone. There's cannibal killer Katherine Knight, jilted man-murderer Kathy Yeo, jailbreak artist Lucy Dudko, and a host of others who will greet you inside the gates of Australia's hardest women's jails. You will meet drug dealers, rapists and fallen celebrities. You will hear tales of forbidden love, drug parties gone wrong and guards who trade 40-cent phone calls for sex. All will be revealed in Green Is the New Black, a comprehensive account of women's prison life by award-winning author and journalist James Phelps.