So I'm sure you and many others like me have been drawn in by Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, and have been loving it. Heck, some of you might have even been thinking to yourself, "Hey, women's prison isn't so bad! I bet I could make it in there!" Well, while the show is based on the actual experiences of Piper Kerman, there are a few things the show overlooks or chooses to ignore that I felt the need to point out.
5. It's A Lot Grosser.
Abigail Pesta spent time in Rikers Island in New York City for real-estate fraud, and had the grossest experience I've read about. Now I know you can't smell the screen or anything, but all the women you see featured appear in the shower at some point in the show. In her experience, she was handcuffed to a woman who smelled like death, and ended up having a yeast infection of the entirety of her body upon exiting. Gross? Of course, but she said she never felt better upon leaving. Not to get too gross here, but it's a well known fact that feminine hygiene products are in short supply...not going to go much more into that...but yeah.
4. There Are A Lot More People.
Overcrowding in prisons has become a common problem across the USA, so why don't we see it in the show? Everyone has a bed, and their own space, and this doesn't happen in the real world. Prisons in California have been having to convert cafeterias into dorm rooms, and there's just not enough room for everyone.
3. 10% Of Female Inmates Suffer Sexual Abuse.
Yeah, I know we see the occasional steamy lesbian scene or encounter with a male officer, but the reality is a bit more dark than that. 5.3% of inmates in 2012 were sexually assaulted by a male officer, while 3.7% of assaults happen between inmates. Most of the staff-related ones did come from favors (like the show portrays), but it would appear things are a lot more apparent than they would seem.
2. It's A Lot More Violent.
Okay, it's not OZ by any means, but there is a lot more abuse going on than the show portrays. Most of it's verbal--lots of cussing and hurling insults, but overcrowding has led to a surge in violence nationally. It's still not as bad as male prisons, but it's definitely not the steal-a-screwdriver-and-use-it-as-a-sex-toy community the show would like you to believe.
1. It's A Lot Less Ethnically Diverse.
Seriously, there's not that many white people. This article isn't going to go into the sociological roots of the disparity in incarceration rates, but it's a fact. Look at prison populations, and look at the show. There are three times as many African American women in prison than white women.
Given the hygiene issues, overcrowding, and violence both sexual and physical, prison sounds a lot less glamorous now, right?