Speaker Profile: Piper Kerman

Our first speaker of our series, Architects of the Future, is Piper Kerman. She will be joining us this Wednesday, February 10th at Shriver Auditorium. Kerman is the author of bestselling novel Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman's Prison, which was later adapted for the hit Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black. Beyond her writing, Kerman is a staunch advocate of prison reform. She serves on the board of the Women's Prison Association and has testified twice before Congress on the subject of solitary confinement as well as other issues within the American penal system. For her advocacy work, Kerman received the 2014 Justice Trailblazer Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She currently works as a writing teacher in two correctional facilities in Ohio, where she lives with her husband Larry Smith.

We’ve curated a compilation of her interviews, speeches, and articles covering all of the important issues surrounding female incarceration.

TED Talk: “We Gotta Get Outta This Place”

In this TED Talk, Kerman discusses the need for serious prison reform and calls for an emphasis in true rehabilitation measures.

NPR Interview: “Behind the New Black, the Real Piper’s Prison Story”

What changes to the real story were made when Piper Kerman inspired the show’s Piper Chapman?

Piper Kerman's Congressional Testimony

Kerman was asked to testify for the Senate on the hearing, "Reassessing Solitary Confinement."

The New York Times Op-Ed: "For Women, A Second Sentence"

Harshly punitive drug laws and diminishing community mental health resources have landed many women in prison who simply do not belong there, often for shockingly long sentences. What is priceless about JusticeHome, however, is that it is working not only to rehabilitate women but to keep families together — which we know is an effective way to reduce crime and to stop a cycle that can condemn entire families to the penal system.

Two Pipers: Kerman and Schilling Side By Side

Author Piper Kerman and the actress Taylor Schilling who plays her re-imagined on the Netflix TV series Orange is the New Black sit down together for an interview.