Depiction Of Life In Prison In Orange Is The New Black By Piper Kerman

Prison life has always been looked at from such a negative perspective due to the experiences prisoners and offenders have had while doing their time. Many offenders seem to experience very inhumane living conditions while being treated terrible and taken advantage of while in our criminal justice system and the hands of prison guards. In Piper Kerman’s story “Orange is the New Black”, the audience is given a glimpse of her experience as a prisoner of Danbury prison. Although she was lucky and did not have too much of a bad experience until the end, she seemed to be grateful of her support system inside and outside the prison. The role her fiancé Larry, friends, mother and even colleges played in coming to visit her every week/month, sending her books and lot of letters, and being there for her through phone calls is how this innocent blondie made it through our imperfect system. Also, other important supporters from the inside like Pompom, Jae, Nathalie, Mrs. Jones, and Pop were the glue that held Piper together, their love and support helped her through the darkest moments of her life.

Overall, the memoir relates to the course on the sociology of crime and punishment by discussing within the themes of why, who and how do we punish offenders, and shows us what the ideal way of life in prison is like on a daily basis. Piper Kerman made a mistake ten years before by cooperating and having a hand in a drug operation, after a while she did get out but years later was punished for her role in the illegal operation. The main message seems to be that although an offender may think they got away with a crime chance are they never will. Piper is a great example of someone who took responsibility for her actions and toughed out her sentences with her head held low and tried not to get herself in more trouble whether that be with other inmates or prison officials. Her situation is a great example that even the ones we think are the most innocent still make mistakes and commit crimes when they are not thinking straight, at the end of the day a crime is a crime and those who committed it should be punished. In society this is what the people want for offenders to be punished and learn their lessons. However, in the book it seems as though not everyone learned their lesson, there were repeat offenders who were in and out and hopefully eventually will learn their lessons. The programs the prisons have also seemed to be important because some of us in the society want these offenders to be able to try and fit back in. It seems that if they were able to prove the negative people wrong that they can do it maybe it will eventually shift those people’s opinions that offenders are trash, useless and unimportant. 

Pipers story tells the audience that the system and the many prisons discussed throughout are not perfect and have many flaws. The guards do not really give a crap about the prisoners or their living conditions, the warden is not very active, and the inmates are actually alright compared to the negative belief society has on how inmates act towards one another. As long as one keeps there head down and does not start something, they should not the prison in Pipers case is like a big family. The inmates in the story seemed to bond over the crappy conditions they live in and the treatment they received from just about anyone who is not another inmate. The story tells the audience that society needs to do more in order to help out prisoners in being treated like human beings and not animals, and giving them more of a safe and humane environment to live in. Piper’s story also tells the reader that punishment is taken seriously in our criminal justice system and criminals are punished to different standards depending on the crime the committed. Therefore, due to this strictness it is obviously that the government, society and the criminal justice system will not take any crap from people who commit crimes, they are strict on punishment, law and order and basically believe in the term “an eye for an eye”. It seems this way because when an offender commits a crime, they are punished to at least the minimum sentencing and type of punishment that fits the crime.

Some of the larger societal questions that were raised are first what can we do differently to help improve the prison systems? Secondly how can we change societies opinion of one-time offenders in which will eventually turn into how can we improve in helping them adjust back into society properly? The answer to both questions will take a variety of change in society by speaking up, supporting a movement for change in policies and even officials and so forth. Another big change will have to be trusting each other more than we currently do, when there is trust then there is a strong foundation. Another change will have to be in attitude and misjudgment, we need to stop judging a book by its cover before giving post offenders chances we cannot keep treating them like they are useless scum on the bottom of the earth. There are many more possibilities and opportunities for ways we can better and improve the prisons systems and the treatment of prisoners in which will also benefit society.

To sum up “Orange is the New Black” it is important to state that although Piper committed a crime, she did her time. The main character made a mistake and due to this gave us a story to remember and analyze how we can do better as a society and stop making the mistakes we are making. Piper is not a bad person, but she is an offender who got caught and took responsibility for her actions which deserves much respect. While in prison she opened the audience’s eyes to the pros and cons, she did have a somewhat positive experience due to who surrounded and supported her, but the cons of prison were mixed in throughout. Piper Kerman opened up the audience’s eyes in a variety of ways she is a memorable, responsible human being. 

09 March 2021
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