Piper Kerman to speak at Xavier

By: Andrew Koch ~Editor-in-Chief~

Writer and prison justice advocate Piper Kerman, whose New York Times-bestselling memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” serves as a loose basis for the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black,” will speak at Xavier on Feb. 3.

Kerman will speak about the American judicial and correctional systems and will also be available to answer questions and sign copies of her book.

Memoirist Piper Kerman (above) will speak on Feb. 3 in Cintas Center.

Beginning in 2004, Kerman spent 13 months in FCI Danbury, a minimum-security prison in Danbury, Conn., after being indicted for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Kerman’s memoir, published in 2010, describes her time in prison and explores the inner workings of America’s correctional facilities.

“(Kerman) provides a unique perspective of the judicial system…and how society can work to improve the prison system for incarcerated individuals,” Student Activities Council (SAC) Press Secretary Jack Bainbridge said in an email. “We hope the lecture offers students an intriguing out of the classroom learning experience.”

Bainbridge said that the event will bring Xavier students greater awareness about issues related to prison justice and the ethics of the American justice and correctional facilities, social justice issues with which he said not many students are currently familiar.

“Kerman speaks (about) the treatment of inmates and the rehabilitation they are receiving,” Bainbridge said. “It is interesting to think about if society is genuinely putting (its) best efforts towards helping rehabilitate these individuals as opposed to simply detaining them for a certain amount of time.”

During Kerman’s visit, SAC and the Department of Criminal Justice will sponsor additional activities related to Kerman’s lecture. Bainbridge said that faculty for the department will also help facilitate questions for Kerman.

OITNB-TV tie in cover
Kerman’s memoir (series tie-in edition pictured above) inspired the critically-acclaimed Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.”

More than 600 student tickets are available, free of charge. SAC will distribute tickets on three occasions in January: on Jan. 15 at the All for One Shop in University Station and on Jan. 19 and Jan. 21 in Gallagher Student Center. Students will be able to acquire one ticket per ALL Card.

The first distribution date, Jan. 15, will be “Orange Day” at the All for One Shop when students will be able to purchase Kerman’s memoir at a discounted rate.

“Orange is the New Black,” a loose adaptation of Kerman’s memoir, first appeared on Netflix in 2013 and follows inmate Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) as she serves a 15-month sentence in a women’s correctional facility.

The series has been popular amongst viewers and critics alike, receiving more views in its first week on Netflix than either “House of Cards” or “Arrested Development” and winning three Primetime Emmy Awards.