Lunchtime Vid: How Marion Jones Became an 'Advocate for Prison Reform'

45 days in solitary will do that to a person

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On Monday, former track and field star Marion Jones appeared on The Daily Show to talk about her new memoir, On the Right Track, and her life of the past few years. In 2007, Jones admitted that she'd taken steroids before the 2000 Olympics, and that she'd subsequently lied about it to two grand juries. As a result, she ended up returning the five medals she'd won in 2000 and ultimately served six months in prison.

Jones has been free since 2008 and is now promoting On the Right Track, which tells of the steroid scandal, Jones's imprisonment, and her current efforts to reform the prison system after spending half a year inside it. She spoke about this with host Jon Stewart:

STEWART: What you went through in prison is astonishing.

JONES: I mean, a lot of people think that it was a slap on the wrist, and I tell them that it absolutely wasn't that. I spent more than 45 days in solitary confinement for lying to federal investigators... I had a roommate helping me with my laundry, and she didn't like that I didn't want her to do my laundry anymore, and so she was upset about that. She attacked me, I had to defend myself, and so because of that I was in solitary for 45-plus days [...]

STEWART: For whatever people find fault with or what they think you did or didn't do, this does make you want to readjust the penal system in this country, and figure out how someone in that situation, when we have so much going on, financially and otherwise, how those people avoid any culpability.

JONES: Right. It's interesting, cause you never know where life is going to take you. Ten years ago, I would have never thought that I'd be an advocate for prison reform... If you don't equip the people who are in prison with the resources to get an education, so that when they get out they can be successful--they're gonna wind up right back in prison, or wind up being your neighbor. Or worse, maybe marrying your daughter or your son.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.