Fake Disneyland: Orange Is the New Black S4 E5 “We’ll Always Have Baltimore” (Netflix)
Orange, Black, or Bleak S4 E5: “We’ll Always Have Baltimore”
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 (a really deep dive, as this is my 51st recap).
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.).
If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*
Some Things About Season 4 Episode 5 “We’ll Always Have Baltimore”
OITNB S4 E5 “We’ll Always Have Baltimore” is about:
* Maritza’s background as a short-con woman and then as a high-end car thief. We also see how her skills as a con artist help her navigate her job driving the CO’s to and from work and high-pressure situations.
* Missing cast members. This is one of the few episodes that contains zero appearances by Alex Vause and zero appearances by Red.
* Taystee getting access to the internet while Caputo is away at “Correticon” with Linda from purchasing. Taystee uses this unique opportunity to look up Celebrity News as well as to try to find information on her friends.
In case you ever are wondering (and I have never searched for Easter Eggs), Caputo’s password is SideboobRulez of SideboobRulz (wasn’t being careful writing that one donw at the time).
She finds stories in the tabloids about Judy King, with pictures of her in the prison garden, which explains what the drone that was driving Lolly crazy was doing at Litchfield.
* The commissary running out of sanitary products for women as the result of the overcrowding of Litchfield by MCC.
* Piscatella explaining his philosophies on running a prison including an embrace of broken windows policing and a statement that prisoners don’t have any expectation of civil rights and that when their civil rights are violated that it is “on them” for doing something illegal.
* Experiencing the unique pleasure of seeing what prison industry conventions are like. Nothing like hobnobbing with your industry partners in making people miserable.
Caputo and Linda hear a keynote address that suggests that the best thing prison administrators can do for prisoners is find ways to keep them busy (not help them find a better way of life etc.). Linda gives a speech where she is talking about ways to cut costs at the expense of prisoners until she is interrupted by Danny Pearson who has now become a prisoner rights advocate (after quitting his job at MCC).
* Discussions and planning between Morello and Suzanne about sex, Suzanne’s “relationship” with Maureen, and the need to catch the “shower pooper.”
* Piper’s ongoing stupid war against the Dominicans which enters a new phase as she rats the Dominicans out to Piscatella and starts to organize an anti-gang violence group which quickly degenerates into a rally for white power (yikes).
The Dignity For Incarcerated Women Act
As I have been mentioning for months now, this tampon and feminine product issue is a real problem in women’s prisons throughout the United States (and at both the State and Federal level).
In fact, I have been working with Senator Stabenow’s office to get answers from the Bureau of Prisons in regards to the free provision of sanitary products for women for a few months now.
In the meantime, I have been asking my readers to contact their Congresspeople and Senators to get them to support the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act” which would ensure that women in Federal prisons had free access to sanitary products. The Bill also ensures, among other things, that pregnant women prisoners are not shackled or kept in solitary confinement.
This is a real opportunity for all of us to make a real difference in the lives of prisoners just like the ones at Litchfield. If you want to read more about the movement to ensure dignity for incarcerated women here is some more information from the Cut 50 organization.
And here are those links to contact your Representatives and Senators again:
I am planning to speak much more soon about the private prison industry in general but I want to finish Lauren Eisen’s excellent book “Inside Private Prisons” before I dive too deeply into the subject (we had some privatized services, but we were not a privatized prison system when I was incarcerated).
Piper Has Lost Her Mind
There are times when I believe that the writer's of "Orange Is the New Black" totally lose their minds (or at least stop listening to their consultants). I totally get that a federal “camp” isn’t as violent as State prison, but there are real limits to what prisoners can do without getting into trouble.
In all the prisons I was incarcerated in, going to the Correctional Officers and giving them actionable information about other prisoners would get you killed or at least severely injured. There is literally ZERO chance that Piper would visibly start chatting up Piscatella setting him against the most powerful group of prisoners in Litchfield.
That is quite literally insanity.
There are rules in prison and rule number one is that the Correctional Officers are NOT on your team and are not there to protect you. If other prisoners see you cozying up to the CO’s there would be serious consequences in general much less doing it to bring down pressure on the Dominicans.
The absolute last thing any prisoner wants is to give a prison gang a reason to be interested in or angry with you.
Piper acting like she was a tough gang leader was insane but snitching to the CO’s about the Dominicans is literally suicidal.
In addition, Piscatella’s feelings about prisoner civil rights are widely shared. There is actually a court case in Michigan about this very issue right now. A group of inmates in Michigan were underaged but tried and processed into the prison system as adults.
Not surprisingly, many of these young inmates were sexually assaulted by older inmates (often inmates much older inmates they were forced to share cells with).
After several years, this group of inmates decided to join a civil action against the State of Michigan for violations of their civil rights. Michigan’s official legal response has been to argue that prisoners have no expectation of civil rights (I wish I was making this stuff up).
I wrote a piece about this controversial case on Daily Kos (scroll down to the second part of the piece).
The saddest thing about this case is that if the inmates lose it will mean that NO inmates in State Prisons in Michigan will have any reasonable expectation of protection from prison rape (which is quite Kafkaesque and insanity).
Yes, Prison Bathrooms are Disgusting
I worked on janitorial staff for two of my three years in prison cleaning bathrooms.
Yes, cleaning prison bathrooms is every bit as disgusting as you might imagine.
If you take away people’s power they will find ways to show power in other ways and places. Unfortunately, in prison that often means showing power by being gross in the bathrooms.
I do have some PTSD in general from prison but I also have some prison "bathroom PTSD."
Unlocking The Gates
Happy Holidays and/or Merry Christmas to all of you!
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).