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Orange Is the New Black
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Crime In America - Thread 5

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message 1: by Julianna C (new)

Julianna C Coyle | 9 comments Mod
Now that you've heard Piper's story, what have you taken out of it?

Piper's memoir is a form of an expose...she is really revealing her honest thoughts and criticisms of the American criminal justice system, especially in regards to its drug laws.

How does Piper's language persuade you to see our justice system in a new perspective? What have you learned from Piper's experience in prison? Do you think anything about our jails needs to change now that you have read her story?

Make sure to analyze the author's use of language in your (hopefully opinionated) responses!


message 2: by AnnaClaire (new)

AnnaClaire Modico | 11 comments Well I have learned a lot from this eye opening novel. Pipers story changed the stereotypical way I viewed people in prison. The women whom she was surrounded by shaped her in indescribable ways and her outspoken voice and syntax further prove this. "We shared overcrowded dorms and lack of privacy. We shared eight numbers instead of names, prison khakis, cheap food and hygiene items." (292) While each person she came across came from different backgrounds, they all had in common the lack of freedom given to them. The phrase "-we needed each other" show the strength and dependency the women had for each other.


message 3: by AnnaClaire (new)

AnnaClaire Modico | 11 comments Personally, I feel as those we should change our incarceration laws after reading this novel. Does anyone agree or have evidence to back up my opinion?


message 4: by Erica (new)

Erica K | 8 comments Anna, I completely agree!! Piper was locked up for a year because a crime that was committed 10 years ago! Piper's statement to Judge Norgle before incarceration consisted of "Your honor, more than a decade ago I made bad decisions, on both a practice and a moral level" (page 30). Piper spent almost 6 years under supervision by the feds after being indicted, waiting for her court date. What i want to know is: Why did the process take so long that had Piper believing she was "miraculously spared? (page 25)."


message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma  Wirth | 5 comments Reflecting on Pipers story through prison, i have learned that even in drastic times of being stuffed into a cell with random strangers, things can still be looked at in a positive aspect. Piper has made many friends along her journey, connecting with people such as "little Janet" for example, who can relate to her situation. Piper has not only found joy through others but joy within herself. She powerfully states while
looking at herself in the mirror "Most of the accumulated varnish of the five unhappy years spent on pretrial was gone. I had resembled the girl who had jumped off that waterfall more closely than i had in years" (pg. 192). Ultimately, when you think of prison, you picture it as a cold, dark, and horrific place. However Piper truly found her happiness that she had lost in the beginning through the power of others. She closes with "There was no way to give them all the things i now carried in my head and in my heart" (pg. 294). This goes to show everything is not what it seems. A terrifying sentence to prison may be one of the best things that Piper will have ever experienced. I myself however, don't know if i would have the same attitude as Piper, and may have lived in fear (lol)


message 6: by Luke (new)

Luke Bergaglio | 7 comments Piper's optimism in even the most negative times is essentially what I took from this novel. However, we do see moments of sadness in Piper that I think we should all recognize as realistic. "I am just glad that I was too busy to think all day because afterward, curled up in a ball in my bunk, I also cried and cried." (190). We can see how the justice system hardens people and makes them stronger both physically and mentally, however regardless of that, there are going to be difficult times that are simply too much. I wouldn't necessarily say that our prison system needs to change... due to the fact that it gets the job done. It can be harsh and unfair, but now that I've read her story I see that there is more freedom in a prison than I originally thought (and I thought there was quite a bit). In all, this was a great book and a great read. I enjoyed the narration and setting a lot; the POV perspective helped a lot with painting a picture in my head of the setting and plot.


message 7: by Brianna (new)

Brianna Tornabene (briannatornabene) | 6 comments Kerman did a really nice job in easing the stigma surrounding prison life. The book impacted me in such a way that I imagine criminals and think "wait, they're like, people too." Each woman in the story has a unique background as well as individual experiences in prison, but at the end of the day they're all still regular women dressed in scrubs. I do believe the system needs to be altered so that it doesn't take a decade to punish a felon for an act they had committed far in the past. Kerman had to wait 10 years to be sentenced to one year, which she should've been allowed to tackle much earlier on. This backed up process really irks me. I bet you all feel similarly.


Brigid Cruickshank | 6 comments Has anyone watched the series after reading the book (or vica versa)? I was so annoyed with the show, but have learned to treat them as different stories by the same author.


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