Swimming Free: Orange Is the New Black S3 E13 “Trust No Bitch” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S3 E13: “Trust No Bitch”

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 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.).

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This episode begins the wrapping-up of season 3 and allows me to discuss pseudo-families in women’s prisons, the importance of language, and the use of administrative segregation.

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

Some Things About Season 3 Episode 13 “Trust No Bitch”

Netflix

Netflix

OITNB S3 E13 “Trust No Bitch” is about:

* Caputo embracing the worst version of himself, he starts to put his career before the prisoner’s well being and sells out his leadership of the long-term Correctional Officer’s union.

Danny and Caputo meet with Danny’s father in order to get Sofia out of “protective custody” and Danny’s dad says no causing Danny to quit. Fig convinces him that it is his chance to finally do something for himself and he sells out his entire union to become the new “Director of Human Resources” for Litchfield.

They did a nice job of setting this up earlier in the season with vignettes from Caputo’s earlier life throughout season 3.

* Healy working through some of his problems with his wife and with his problems with his own competence and his built-in hatred of women (linked back to his fears of abandonment because his Mom was actually mentally ill and frequently not present when he needed her).

* Boo and Doggett figuring out how to get Doggett out of driving duty so she doesn’t have to be exposed to Donuts off-campus anymore. Boo teaches Doggett how to simulate an epileptic fit and she used her newfound skill while she was driving causing an accident (and injury to Donuts forehead).

* The African American ladies saving SoSo from her overdose and adopting her into their crew (because Poussey likes her).

* Alex finally facing her worst fear as Kubra’s best hitman gets a job as a CO and tries to kill her (this cliffhanger remains unresolved at the end of the episode).

* Aleida and Daya making peace over Aleida lying to Mendez Mom and leaving the baby with Caesar. Unbeknownst to either of them, Caesar gets arrested by the DEA (presumptively so I have to deal with one of my least favorite storylines for the entire run of the show).

* Piper becoming increasingly convinced that she is a real Gangster (no, really).

First she gives Flacca a break letting her return to the panty business, then finds out her panty money has been stolen, then Piper blames Flacca for stealing it before figuring out the Stella actually stole it, then she makes an example of Stella by planting a bunch of contraband in her cell two days before she was due to get out of prison.

Before they become estranged, Stella gives Piper a prison tat that reads “Trust No Bitches”

* Gloria trying to come to grips with what she did to Sophia (Red tries to say it wasn’t her fault but it was totally Gloria’s fault).

* Cindy finally becoming an official Jewish person. She convinces the Rabbi that she seriously wants to become a Jew and ultimately completes both necessary rituals (one of which requires bathing naked in natural water).

Have to tip my hat to Adrienne C. Moore who delivers a pretty amazing performance in the scene with the rabbi (surprisingly moving).

* The cult of Norma finally breaking up after Poussey calls out Leanne for SoSo’s attempted suicide. Norma and Red start to reconnect (a bit)

* Morello and Vinnie deciding to marry and getting married (including the consummation of the relationship in the visitor's room against the vending machines)

* The arrival of celebrity chef Judy King at Litchfield (another of my least favorite storylines)

* Somehow, a work crew comes in and removes an entire section of the fence around the facility while no CO’s or prison personnel were present. Obviously, virtually every inmate exits the premises through the hole in the fence and they all go swimming in the toxic lake next to Litchfield (a fun, if largely fantastic moment).

* Suzanne and Maureen kind of hook up (FYI Maureen is most probably psychotic while Suzanne really has to be manipulated into hurting anyone).

* The arrival of huge numbers of new inmates and new double bunks (to accommodate all of them).

Yup, Tat Guns are Made Using Commissary Items and Ingenuity

In case you were wondering, that tat gun that Stella was using on Piper was a decent appropriation of a prison tat gun. Prion tats are a HUGE subculture in prison and many people save much money (dollars in your commissary account)  to get tats from the best prison tat artists.

While tats in prison are cheaper, most likely, that tats outside prisons. The top artists do charge a serious amount of money for the art. Avoiding CO’s or doing your tat work during times when CO’s who don’t care are on duty is a big part of the game because tat guns are serious contraband and garner new charges.

I have seen violent incidents because of prison tats several times (most usually because of racist tats or failure to pay).

Piper the Gangster

My number one rule of survival in prison was NEVER to try to represent myself as something I couldn't back up.

If you represent yourself as a gangster, someone is going to test you and expect a gangster response.

Piper may think she is a gangster, and she might do some awful and heartless things that might be “akin” to doing gangster things, but she is no gangster (the only fight she has had in her life was with Doggett at the end of S1).

If Litchfield were real, I would warn Piper to back way off of all the foolishness.

In fairness, Piper put herself in a terrible position, if she had let people see her as weak, they would have all robbed her blind but that is just another reason why she should never have gotten into any of this foolishness in the first place.

It is one thing to plant a bunch of stuff in an inmate's house but not everyone is going to give you the chance to take a shot at them. Usually, extortion is much more direct and violence is applied to ensure compliance.

I was very lucky, I saw violence all-around me at least every week but was never in a confrontation. Part of that is because I kept to myself, followed all the common rules, was respectful and pleasant to everyone, and never caused any problems. When I was tested I always stood up for myself and never backed down, but luckily none of that ever spilled over into real violence.

If you are unlucky enough to go to prison, I would strongly suggest watching much more than talking for your first week at any facility. Find out what the unwritten rules of everything from bathroom etiquette to etiquette in the chow hall. Learn your cube rules and pay attention to what the other people in your cube tell you.

One of the most important relationships you will have in prison is the one with your bunkie and it is also really important to get along with the other people in your cube (if you have a cube instead of a cell).

It is considered very bad form to enter another cube than your own without invitation (and it can also get you written up) and most people would consider it disrespectful to let someone else randomly commit violence, plant contraband, or physically threaten someone else inside their cell (unless they REALLY don’t like you).

Piper totally put herself between a rock and a hard place by running a successful business that everybody knows about. In fact, in most blocks, to run a business that impacts that many people you might have to get permission (and pay a percentage) to whoever runs your block (in every prison, there is someone (or someone's) running illicit activities.

Anyway, my larger point is that Piper Chapman would be seriously tested if she were trying to run a truly lucrative business like her panty business and the consequences of that testing would likely be horrific.

Plus, why are we supposed to still feel okay about Piper after she saves her own prison cred by sacrificing someone who was about to be released to a “new bit” (prison talk for being found guilty of new crimes)?

Yes, it sucks that Stella stole from Piper, and Piper would be in all kinds of trouble if she had not responded, but it still doesn’t say great things about the new Piper.

The Fence

There is NO chance in hell that, even in a privatized prison, anyone could remove a part of the fence around the facility without security personnel present. Contractors do not walk into prisons and just start making repairs outside of protocol.

Technically, it isn’t even possible to get on the grounds of a prison without being let in (the truck would have had to be previously identified and would have been searched). Prisons are OBSESSIVE about the perimeter. Guards do perimeter checks regularly and repairs can ONLY happen with security personnel present (sadly, this just proves they are running out of ideas that don’t require an almost surreal amount of suspension of disbelief.

At the same time, after three seasons, it is fun to see all the ladies finally get to have a few minutes of release. I love them being able to take a swim but I have to at least mention that it could never happen (at least not like that).

Oh, also, If you pay close attention, you will notice Luschek printing out prison rosters for count. These sheets would be printed out every day at every count and the CO’s have to account for every prisoner by lock (bunk), face, and prisoner number before count can clear (the show sometimes makes it seem like they just use a clicker but that is nonsense).  Sadly, they will carelessly overlook this fact in future seasons.

Last but not least, Taystee is right when she says anyone who goes through the fence would be risking a stay in SHU (and be facing new charges for attempted escape). The idea that a warden could “keep this secret” is nonsense because there are cameras all over the facility (and all over the yard).

Okay, that’s it for my least favorite season of Orange Is the New Black. IMHO Season 3 is the worst (with Season 5 a close second). Many people dislike season 4 but it was one of my absolute favorite seasons (which means that I am excited to move on).

Unlocking The Gates

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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).

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“What Was Your Least Favorite Season of OITNB and Why?"

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