SBCC Reads 2015: Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison Piper Kerman, Spiegel & Grau, 2010.

When federal agents knocked on her door with an indictment in hand, Piper Kerman barely resembled the reckless young woman she was shortly after graduating Smith College. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, Piper was forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.

Following a plea deal for her 10-year-old crime, Piper spent a year in the infamous women’s correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, which she found to be no “Club Fed.” In Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, Piper takes readers into B-Dorm, a community of colorful, eccentric, vividly drawn women. Their stories raise issues of friendship and family, mental illness, the odd cliques and codes of behavior, the role of religion, the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailor, and the almost complete lack of guidance for life after prison.

Compelling, moving, and often hilarious, Orange Is the New Black sheds a unique light on life inside a women’s prison, by a Smith College graduate who did the crime and did the time.

Read and listen to more about the book and the author:

Prisons and Probation: Perceptions and Realities

PANEL DISCUSSION, April 8 3-4pm, inside the Library

To draw in readers of the SBCC READS 2015 book, we have a panel set with three SBCC people and a former inmate who is affiliated with foundation to support former inmates, each of whom have realities and perceptions to share:

  • Tongee Tomlinson (SBCC student)
  • Geordie Armstrong (SBCC faculty member, Masters research on women in prison in Ecuador),
  • Eiko Kitao (SBCC Earth and Planetary Sciences LTA)
  • Kristianne Clifford (speaking for Freedom to Choose Foundation)
  • Seating is limited to 50 people so “first come first served”

    February 23rd

    The Luria Library distributes free copies of the book to interested students. We are hoping that when students finish reading the book, they will redistribute their copy to another reader! There will be a collection basket in the library for this purpose.

    Service Learning and Community Service: TBD

      Community Events:

      • April 19The author will speak at UCSB on April 19, 2015. The lecture will be held in Campbell Hall.
      • Check the UCSB Reads 2015 Events Page for a complete schedule of events for the UCSB Reads program.
      • Check for activities and community conversations sponsored by the Santa Barbara Public Library on their events page.

      Books to read

      About Women in Prison



      Interrupted life


      About Incarceration





      Read More


      About this guide: In collaboration with UCSB Reads and Westmont Reads, Santa Barbara City College’s Luria Library will be hosting a number of events and activities to explore the issues raised as we read

      Purposes of SBCC Reads are to:

      • Explore interdisciplinary issues sparked by the selected book through conversations, readings, displays, and other activities. Free copies of the book will distributed to interested students; faculty members are encouraged to use the book in class curricula.
      • Generate informed discussion of key issues by promoting the reading and discussion of books on the broad themes in the book.
      • Focus on academic disciplines at SBCC which provide us with a broader understanding of the issues raised in the book.
      • Create further campus appreciation of the library and the role it plays in education and research.
      • Encourage the exchange of ideas with members of U.C. Santa Barbara, Westmont College, and other Santa Barbara community members.

      Previous SBCC Reads Titles: