Martha Stewart has built a veritable empire through her cookbooks, television shows, magazine, merchandise, and general lifestyle expertise. At 76, she's still as powerful as ever, launching a new show and weighing in on important life questions. Throughout her extraordinarily successful career, the one sore spot is her five-month prison sentence.
More than a decade after serving time in prison for lying about the sale of a stock, Stewart spoke publicly about the ordeal for the first time while on Katie Couric's podcast. She didn't shy away from sharing details of her own experience or her opinion on incarceration in America as a whole.
When asked by Couric if she sees her time in jail as a growth experience, Stewart said she didn't view it as a "making lemons out of lemonade" or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" type of scenario.
"None of those adages fit," she said on the podcast. "It is a horrible experience, there's nothing good about it, nothing."
Getting through those five months was a result of her attitude going into prison, Stewart says. "It does not make you stronger. I was a strong person before that and thank heavens I was and I can still hold my head up high and know that I'm fine."
She says the hardest part was being taken away from her family, and being treated horribly. "No one should have to go through that indignity, except for murderers," she said. "There are a few other categories, but no one should have to go through that. It's a very, very awful thing."
Stewart was able to joke about the experience a little bit, calling it "the time I went to Yale" since she spent much of her time reading and learning. However, she made her opinion clear regarding the justice system in the U.S.—there are too many people in prison, particularly people who are locked up for low-level drug charges. "It just doesn't make sense," she says.
She also objects to the condition of prisons, even minimum-security ones like the prison she served time in. "There are a lot of disturbing things that go on in an incarceration like that," she said. "There's still guards and it's still nasty."
People were riled up by some of these comments and took to Twitter to voice their feelings: