why did piper kerman goes to prison

why did Piper Kerman Goes to prison


Welcome, dear reader! Our topic today is an intriguing real-life story that served as a wake-up call for many. It’s about Piper Kerman, a woman from a privileged background who found herself in prison due to a single ill-fated decision she made in her youth. But why did Piper Kerman go to prison? Let’s unravel the story.

Who is Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman is a woman whose name you might recognize from the hit Netflix series, “Orange Is the New Black.” But the show isn’t pure fiction – it’s based on Kerman’s real-life experiences.

Piper’s Early Life

Born in Boston in 1969, Piper was raised in a well-off family. She had a privileged upbringing and went on to attend Smith College, a prestigious all-women’s institution.

The Crime That Led Piper to Prison

The Lure of Money and Adventure

After college, Piper entered into a relationship with Nora Jansen (name changed in the Netflix series to Alex Vause), a woman involved in an international drug smuggling ring.

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The Fateful Decision

Led by the thrill and allure of this adventurous lifestyle, Piper made a fateful decision: She agreed to transport a suitcase filled with drug money from Chicago to Brussels.

Piper’s Involvement in Money Laundering

The Role of Nora Jansen

Under Jansen’s influence, Piper got entangled in the dark world of drugs and money laundering. However, she soon realized the gravity of her situation and decided to end her involvement.

The Arrest and Trial

Years later, Piper was living a regular life with her boyfriend, Larry Smith, when the past caught up with her. She was indicted for money laundering and drug trafficking, leading to her arrest.

Piper’s Time in Prison

Life Behind Bars

Sentenced to 15 months in a federal correctional facility, Piper experienced the harsh realities of prison life. This period was challenging but transformative.

The Impact of Prison Life

Her time in prison exposed her to a world vastly different from her own, opening her eyes to the realities and injustices of the U.S. prison system.

Her Transformation in Prison

Prison life wasn’t just about survival for Piper. It was a place where she learned about empathy, solidarity, and the power of human connection, eventually leading to her transformation.

Orange is the New Black: The Book

Upon her release, Piper penned her experiences in a memoir titled “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.” The book became a bestseller, offering readers an intimate look at the realities of women in prison.

Orange is the New Black: The Netflix Series

Her story was then adapted into a Netflix series of the same name. The series, while taking creative liberties, largely mirrors Piper’s experiences and highlights the broader issues within the U.S. prison system.

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Piper’s Life After Prison

Her Advocacy Work

After her release, Piper became an advocate for prison reform. She used her platform to highlight the issues within the criminal justice system, including the harsh realities faced by female prisoners, and the need for systemic change.

Piper Kerman Today

Today, Piper continues her advocacy work. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association and frequently speaks at colleges, law schools, and nonprofit organizations about her experiences and the need for reform.

Lessons from Piper Kerman’s Story

Piper’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the potential for transformation and redemption, even in the darkest of circumstances. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding in dealing with individuals in the criminal justice system.


In conclusion, Piper Kerman’s journey from a privileged background to a federal correctional facility and back to society is a compelling story of transformation. Her experiences shed light on the often-overlooked realities of prison life, and her post-prison work emphasizes the need for systemic change in the criminal justice system.


Q1: Why did Piper Kerman go to prison?

A1: Piper Kerman went to prison for money laundering and drug trafficking, crimes she committed under the influence of her then-girlfriend, Nora Jansen.

Q2: How long was Piper Kerman in prison?

A2: Piper Kerman spent 13 months of her 15-month sentence in a federal correctional facility.

Q3: What did Piper Kerman do after her release from prison?

A3: After her release, Piper wrote a memoir about her prison experiences and became an advocate for prison reform.

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Q4: Is the Netflix series ‘Orange Is the New Black’ based on Piper Kerman’s life?

A4: Yes, the series is loosely based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, which recounts her experiences in prison.

Q5: What is Piper Kerman’s main message in her advocacy work?

A5: Piper Kerman emphasizes the need for systemic change in the criminal justice system, focusing on issues like prison reform and the conditions faced by female prisoners.

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