Praise

Praise for Prison Baby

“A book of hope for lives that need turning around.”
Kirkus Reviews

“…remarkable in that she combines the messiness of memory with a clinical understanding of her own condition.”
—Shelf Awareness
starred review

“…captivating account of it are beyond astonishing…What lifts this trauma-to-redemption tale well above the genre is the author’s extraordinary power to harness words to convey what it feels like to be utterly — and ultimately understandably — out of control.”
Star Tribune

“The ways this woman discovers herself, via the revelation of her birth mother and her reconciliation with her adoptive mother, show us how dramatically different worlds intersect, and why those intersections are so important to who we are… A powerful story.”
—Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

“Deborah Jiang Stein has beaten the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, despite the odds against her—multiracial, born in a federal prison to a heroin-addicted mother. Her story offers hope to the possibility of personal transformation for anyone.”
—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and Pulitzer Prize nominee

“A harrowing, heartfelt glittering diamond of a memoir that shows that being born in prison does not have to imprison the spirit. Gloriously alive and important.”
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow

“Prison Baby, one woman’s profound quest for family and identity, is also a soul stirring call to arms on behalf of incarcerated women and their children. It’s a story of lost and found, conflict and peace, and proof that with love, forgiveness, and support, people really do change their lives.”
—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

“This book defines what it is to be American, a woman caught in the whirlwinds of change, who finds the strength in herself to confront the challenges and overcome them. Wonderful.”
—Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of A Place to Stand and American Book Award winner

“A compelling story of loss, addiction, and healing…told with grace and much heart.”
—Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

“At a time when more and more women are being incarcerated worldwide, Deborah Jiang Stein’s story of the secrets and ignominy surrounding her prison birth gives readers a brave account of the backlash children and society encounter when families are torn apart by addiction, prison, and shame. More than anything, Deborah’s book is a call for an open-eyed examination of our broken criminal justice system, and a heartfelt plea for more compassionate responses to poverty and mental illness.”
—Naseem Rakha, author of The Crying Tree

“A profoundly moving search for identify, Prison Baby is as inspiring as it is haunting. Deborah Jiang Stein’s bold, and intrepid honesty will speak to anyone who has struggled with grief, forgiveness, and finding their place in the world.”
—Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

“Prison Baby
is an emotionally charged, transformative story about one woman’s search for her true origins. Candid and searing, Deborah Jiang Stein’s memoir is a remarkable story about identity, lost and found—and about the author’s journey to reclaim—and celebrate—that most primal of relationships, the one between mother and child. I dare you to read this book without crying.”
—Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace

Prison Baby hits all the emotions of the who, what, where, when and why’s of adoption right on the head of the nail! Some real deep life stuff is in these pages. It stirs the soul. I can relate to being in a similar predicament where I didn’t look like anyone in my family. If you want to know the truth about finding who you really are, this is the story! Adopted or not.”
—Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, adoptee and Founder of hip-hop group Run-DMC

Endorsements for The unPrison Project and Deborah Jiang Stein

From Professionals

“To have Deborah come into our facility and connect on more that an emotional level with the inmate population is immeasurable. The women in the audience were able to open up and bear some emotional grief and proceed with the healing and forgiving process.”  — Felix Figueroa, Correctional Lieutenant, California Institution for Women (CIW)

“The challenges facing the huge number of children born to female inmates remains a significantly unexplored area for criminal justice practitioners and scholars. Deborah Jiang Stein’s work to explore her own journey as the child born to a federal inmate can serve to focus the attention of both practitioners and scholars on a relatively unexplored, yet critical issue facing the American Criminal Justice System.”
—   Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster (former) LAPD  (Los Angeles Police Department)

“What you contributed to the event was so powerful, and inspiring. I keep hearing about the tremendous impact you’ve made on our team. We often rely on data (statistics) to drive our efforts; but you lifting your voice about your life brought home the human connection and relativity. You are vital to the national mission to serve and support children and families effected by incarceration.”
— Cynthia L. Graham, Executive Director, New York’s Children of Promise, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster County

“Deborah Jiang Stein’s life is a testament to the nobility of the human spirit. Deborah’s journey is one of the most inspiring examples of that which I have ever encountered in nearly 40 years of ministry…despite horrible odds, has helped Deborah to believe that nothing is impossible. If ever there was a story that could help us all have the gift of foolishness to attempt the things others say cannot be done, this is that story.”
— The Rev. Howard Anderson, Ph.D., Rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Parish, Pacific Palisades, California

“What Deborah Jiang Stein was able to bring to the table in terms of her personal life experience and her family history was both relevant and meaningful to the young people we house. For them to hear that someone is making it in life despite the odds that were stacked against her is inspiration to them and brings them to a place of realizing that the same can be true for them.”
— Warden Teresa McCourt, Anthony Correctional Center (maximum security) West Virginia

“Down to earth presenter who shares her story of self-awareness and change with an honesty that gets everyone’s attention.” – Albion Correctional Facility staff member, New York

“Deborah Jiang Stein is not just an inspiration for incarcerated women who have struggled with addiction, jaded pasts or uncertain futures, but for anyone- male or female- who have ever struggled within themselves to find their true identity and where they fit in our society. Deborah’s story is one like no other, yet we can all relate in some way. I look forward to working with Deborah within my Girl Scouts Beyond Bars programming for years to come.” — Rachel Green, Program Coordinator Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, serving New Hampshire and Vermont

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to support the mothers. When the mothers are struggling against addiction and incarceration, those villagers become harder and harder to find. Thank you for be willing to stand alongside incarcerated women. The fact that you can speak from several integral and intersecting perspectives, daughter, mother, recovering addict, lets  women know that they are not alone or forgotten, and that there is hope.”
— Jess Kell, Kids-A-Part Parenting Program Coordinator
Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility

From Inmates

“She stuck out in my mind by being born inside a prison. It takes a courageous person to say you’re born in a prison. She gives me hope for my own daughter.” —Inmate, Shakopee State Prison, Minnesota

“Proof that the cycle of addiction can be broken and surpassed as well as confirmation that success is still an option.” —  Albion Correctional Facility, New York

“I feel I’ve walked away with so much hope and I know I can be a better person.” — Albion Correctional Facility, New York

“It was truly a heart felt experience as so much she said hit home for me. It’s time to let go of our past and look to a much brighter future.” — Albion Correctional Facility, New York