Butterscotch: Orange Is the New Black S4 E6 “Piece Of Sh*t” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S4 E6: “Piece Of Sh*t”

As a formerly incarcerated person, I have been engaged in a deep-dive into the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black to help explain some of the things that folks watching the show without a felony background might not catch.

If you have not seen all of my recaps, here is a link to the complete guide.

If you are a fan of the show, you should help me in supporting “Dignity For Incarcerated Women Act” in the US Senate and House of Representatives (ensuring that women prisoners have free access to sanitary napkins, aren’t put in solitary when pregnant, and aren’t shackled when pregnant etc.).

Contact Your Senator

Contact Your Congressperson

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

Some Things About Season 4 Episode 6 “Piece Of Sh*t”

Netflix

Netflix

OITNB S4 E6 “Piece of Sh*t” is about:

* Luschek’s crisis of confidence in regards to his own douchebaggery. He feels guilty about what he did to Nichols (getting her shipped to Max when their drug-selling scheme almost got tied to him during a flash inspection of his office by Caputo).

He gets advice from Judy King and ends up visiting Nichols in Max (who does an amazing job telling him what he can do with his apology). Ultimately, Judy King pulls some strings and gets Nichols transferred back to Litchfield for Luschek but demands a sexual price from Luscheck.

* Nichols getting sober. In her time at Max, Nichols has gotten sober and is busy going about her daily business in janitorial until she is tasked with cleaning the SHU and runs into Sophia Burset.

Nichols gives Bursett a magazine which Sophia uses to take the staples and cut her own wrists. Nichols is called back to SHU to clean up the blood in Bursett’s cell which triggers her desire to relapse.

Nichols knows that in order to get drugs, she has to sexually service one of the CO’s. She does what is necessary to get the drugs just as we see that Caputo is approving her transfer back to Litchfield (sad parallelism with Luschek).

We also get to see quick glimpses of Taslitz (one of Red’s Golden Girls) and Stella (on the yard at max).

* Piper accidentally creating the Litchfield chapter of Aryan Nation. Now that chapter, which she created to protect her from the Latinas, has told the CO’s about the Latinas running a panty business. The CO’s start doing random searches for women wearing fancy panties and Piper and Boo are almost caught up in one of those searches. Boo tells Piper that she needs to do something so Piper plants a bunch of panties in Maria Mendoza’s bunk.

Maria gets told by Piscatella that he will recommend 2-3 more years in new charges are applied against her so now Piper is in real trouble (Maria also drops the information to Piscatella that Piper is also selling panties).

In other news, Piper is also trying to make peace with Vause (shocker).

* Caputo deciding to work with Linda from purchasing to get a series of classes (taught by the CO’s) approved by MCC. The classes will be designed to alleviate the boredom of prison and give the inmates something worth getting up for.

* Taystee, Cindy, and Suzanne coming up with a scheme to take pictures of Judy King to sell for money online (since Taystee has access to the internet in Caputo’s office). Eventually, they find out that Alison has a phone so Taystee negotiates a truce between Allison and Cindy so that the business can go forward.

* SoSo and Poussey’s relationship moving forward. SoSo and Poussey appear to be falling in love. The only hiccup seems to be that SoSo isn’t comfortable with the idea of giving Poussey oral pleasure (that was the best euphemism I could come up with).

The Piper Problem

I have been harping on this for a few weeks now but after the slow build over the first three seasons, Piper has really turned into a thoroughly selfish and unlikable character (I think even she knows she has become a terrible person).

She was so drunk on the idea of being a big shot in prison that she has protected her position twice by adding serious time to other inmates sentences by planting contraband in their bunks. First, while this is possible, generally people do not mess with other peoples cubes because:

  1. Piper has a bunk and cube too and is 100% vulnerable to retaliation (and given her current situation, not ONE inmate would come to her defense).

  2. Piper is 100% violating prison code (you settle problems outside of involving CO’s) and the absolute WORST form of breaking the code is getting people charged with new crimes (that is like “snitching on steroids”).

  3. People’s cube and bunkmates will protect their cubes and not take kindly to someone invading their cubes (creating more people who will be looking for revenge against her).

  4. Maria runs the biggest clique in Litchfield. In real prison, they would literally kill Piper for what she just did. Someone is bound to say that nobody would risk going to Max but I suspect Pidge, Ouija, Zirconia or Maria would risk it, given the circumstances.

This is just not done in prison. Piper would have to either fold up her business (losing a ton of face and clout) or respond directly to Maria but she would not plant evidence in the cube of the leader of the biggest “gang” in her prison.

Suicide.

Plus, even if you think it wasn’t suicide, it is stupid strategically (they can and would plant evidence on her too and the rest of the prison would turn against her) and it is just mean (nobody tries to add time to another inmates sentence).

The Caputo Problem

Yes, there is literally NOTHING to do in prison.

I was housed at three separate facilities and the most I ever worked per day was an hour a day. Partially, this is because there are so many inmates warehoused at each facility that there are four shifts of inmates scheduled for every single job (we each had a shift).

There are no good answers to this at regular prisons much less private prisons (where per-inmate and per-CO costs are the most important corporate concerns).

It has long been my contention that prisons should operate as full-time rehabilitative facilities where from the moment after sentencing to the day a prisoner is to be released the prison's job is to ensure that each prisoner has a place to live and a sustainable job to work at upon release. But there is little chance that this would ever happen in a private prison without new incentives being built-in to legislation governing payment to private prisons.

John Pfaff has suggested that Private Prisons could be induced to be better stewards if private prisons were rewarded for low-recidivism rates as opposed to for simply providing prisoners with bunks and food on a daily basis.

It is difficult, however, to see how we get from the world where prisons (and private prisons) judge success as filling beds to the world in which prisons are seen as opportunities to reduce recidivism. The prison industry (public and private) use the money that they acquire through budgets or payment to lobby against sensible reforms (they have no economic incentive to reduce the prison population). The Correctional Officers unions and lobbies, Private Prison lobbies, the towns where prisons are located, and every business that relies on prisoners all have an incentive to fight against meaningful reform designed to end Mass Incarceration.

There is a moral hazard created in funding prisons and industries which rely on prisoners for profit.

Efficient or inefficient, successful or unsuccessful, the profit motive created in maintaining Mass Incarceration builds a massive and well-funded lobby with real legislative clout (often seen as a branch of law enforcement) against real reform.

Caputo is moving the deck chairs on the Titanic just to make his boat sail better on choppy seas (the iceberg is what usually happens when prisoners return to society with no jobs and often no place to live). This is about Caputo making himself look good and not about Caputo trying to make life better for his inmates.

Unlocking The Gates

Netflix

Netflix

I am a member of a Criminal Justice Reform organization called Nation Outside (The Voice of the Formerly Incarcerated) but I am not speaking for Nation Outside in any official capacity.

If you are interested in criminal justice reform or are formerly incarcerated yourself, please consider joining the fight (if you are a Michigan resident - you can sign up by clicking on the hyperlink above).

I am starting a criminal justice reform podcast soon (I have already lined up some pretty cool interviews). I will alert you once I get it rolling.

Josh is a blogger and freelance writer. Please consider following him on Twitter, throwing a tip into his hat on Patreon, show your appreciation using Paypal.me, or adding OnPirateSatellite to your feeds.