Born on September 28, 1969 in Boston, Piper Kerman grew up with greatness all around her. Most members of her family were attorneys, doctors, and educators, which left her with big shoes to fill. But when she started seeing a woman who dealt heroin, she soon found herself indicted for laundering money and trafficking drugs. After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 15 months at FCI Danbury, a prison in Connecticut.
If this story sounds at all familiar, it’s probably because Kerman’s experience in prison inspired her to write a memoir entitled Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Based on the memoir, the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black is now gearing up for its fourth season, which will be released on June 17.
Today, Kerman spends her time advocating for women’s prison reform, serving on the board of the Women’s Prison Association and speaking to various groups, officers, and students. She also teaches writing classes at the Marion Correctional Institution and the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Kerman was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award in 2014 from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
If you’re interested in hearing more about Kerman’s experience, she kept a blog-style record of her time in prison on thepipebomb.com, which is still available to view. You check out our collection of Netflix originals on DVD, Kerman's memoir, as well as the first three seasons of Orange is the New Black.