Deborah Jiang-Stein on life as a 'Prison Baby'

'Prison Baby'
'Prison Baby' by Deborah Jiang Stein
Book cover courtesy of publisher

Minneapolis author Deborah Jiang-Stein's struggled coming to terms with the circumstances of her adoption, her drug addiction and the mental health system.

She retells her experiences in her new memoir, "Prison Baby." The United States needs a new prison policy and an overhaul of mental health treatment, she argues.

What happens to babies born to inmates in Minnesota state prisons?

Kirkus calls it "a book of hope for lives that need turning around:"

In the opening chapter, the author recalls how, as a 12-year-old girl of mixed, uncertain race adopted into an academic family and a life of the arts, she found a letter that devastated her. Her adoptive mother had long ago made a request that the author's birth certificate be altered so that she would never learn that she had been born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother. It also seems that, as a baby, she had passed through a series of foster homes, none of which she remembers.

"I tuck the paper back into the liner and float from the dresser into my parents' bedroom and stare at myself in the mirror over the sink, my body in overload" writes Stein. "Time and space distort inside me, I don't know where I am."

Jiang-Stein joins The Daily Circuit to discuss what she's overcome and how it shaped her view of America's rehabilitation programs.