The Advocate: ''Orange' author visits county to talk about re-entry

(Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)

NEWARK - Tina Cole was serving time at the Ohio Reformatory for Women when she picked up the book, "Orange is the New Black."

At first, Cole wasn't sure she had a lot in common with the author of the memoir, Piper Kerman, who spent 13 months in a women's prison in Connecticut in 2004.

Kerman was a Smith College graduate who was charged with felony money laundering. Cole was a Newark mom who served six years in Marysville for selling drugs.

But when she picked up the book again recently, Cole's life had changed dramatically. She's out of prison, recently celebrated the birth of a grandchild and is working as the general manager of the Sparta in downtown Newark.

One of her goals is to be an advocate for other former inmates as they try navigate life after incarceration.

"When I read it again, I found it very motivating to keep me going in what I do, not only in my day-to-day life, but also with what we are doing in Newark to help returning citizens," she said.

She was thrilled to welcome Kerman to the Sparta on Tuesday for lunch and a discussion about her book and criminal justice reform.

For the full article, click here.