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"Orange is the New Black" author calls for prison reform

Tuesday, August 04, 2015 - 01:28

The woman whose memoir about her year in a federal prison became a popular streaming internet series calls for prison reform, in testimony to a U.S. Senate committee. Diane Hodges reports.

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Piper Kerman, the author of the best-selling memoir about her year in a federal prison -- Orange is the New Black -- had some harsh words when she testified before the U.S. Senate. She told a homeland security committee that community service would have been a more appropriate punishment for her than prison time. ... and about what she says are disparities in the nation's criminal justice system. (SOUNDBITE)(English) AUTHOR PIPER KERMAN, SAYING: "One of the things that was so striking to me, the very first day that I spent in prison, was that so many of the women that I was incarcerated with who I would spend a great deal of time with were serving much harsher sentences than I was....The only conclusion I could draw was they were treated much more harshly by the American criminal justice system than I had been treated because of socio-economic reasons, differences in class and in some cases because of the color of their skin." Kerman went to a federal prison in 2004 for smuggling a suitcase full of drug money from Chicago to Brussels. Her memoir was turned into a popular internet streaming series by the same name on Netflix. Several members of Congress plan to introduce bills to overhaul the criminal justice system. Then perhaps there will be fewer women with stories to inspire characters like these.

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"Orange is the New Black" author calls for prison reform

Tuesday, August 04, 2015 - 01:28