“Orange Is The New Black”

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If you’ve been keeping tabs on Netflix’s new brand of television, you’ve probably been anticipating the premiere of Orange is the New Black. What you may not know is that the series, about a woman who is incarcerated after she is caught running money for an international heroin gang, is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name.

We interviewed Kerman late last year about being a literary ex-con. From the sprawling, candid conversation:

One of the common things that victims of crime or the families of victims of crime say about the current justice system is that it ironically shuts them out, an adversarial system of justice. Once the wrongdoer is charged, the voice of the victim or the victim’s family is removed. There’s not a lot the system does to make them whole. A sentence that gets you shipped away upstate doesn’t cause you to confront the deed. Maybe some prisoners do the personal work, but there’s nothing actually inherent in confinement, being locked in a cage, that causes you to really think about what you did. Either people do the work themselves or they don’t, and the prisoners, they see that in each other.


Rebecca Rubenstein is the former interviews editor of The Rumpus and the editor-in-chief of Midnight Breakfast. When not reading books made of paper, she can be found thinking aloud on Twitter. She resides in San Francisco and maintains a healthy relationship with the fog. More from this author →