The Netflix show “Orange is the New Black” is based on the book of the same name which was written by Piper Kerman about her time at the Federal Prison Camp in Danbury, Ct. I was also formerly at inmate at that facility. I am expert on why the show is inaccurate.
I will start by acknowledging that I have only seen 5 seconds of the show because a co-worker was watching it while on her lunch break. I have also seen a lot of production stills. Let me start by telling you a little about the actual facility. There are two prisons facilities there. There is a camp which is a minimum security facility and a medium security facility, the FCI. The camp is up the hill and the FCI, is down the hill. The only place that orange is worn at this facility is inside segregation or the SHU which is down the hill. Orange is never worn outside of segregation. When an inmate leaves segregation they are given a new outfit to put on. Up the hill our uniforms are olive green which consisted of a collared shirt with buttons and elastic waist pants.
At the camp there are no fences or bars inside or outside the facility. When I worked at grounds, you could walk to route 37 to pick up trash without the co. Our co at grounds was Norm who was never going to win co of the year award. Because camps are for low level offenders the majority of whom have 1-3 year sentences, you’re not going to try to escape. You get five years added to your sentence if you try to escape. There was the perimeter guard, a co with a gun that would drive around the facility to make sure that you were where you were supposed to be.
What’s DOC? Federal Prisons are run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons or we would just say FBOP. Do they even crochet on “Orange is the New Black”? If they don’t crochet then this show is way, way off. Even Martha Stewart can tell you about crocheting in the feds.
I have read online commentary about this show being racist. The camp has a population of approximately 200 women. When I was there, there were only 60-70 black inmates. The camp was predominantly white & Hispanic; there were a handful of Asians and some natives who sold drugs on their reservations.
*DISCLAIMER: I was not incarcerated with Piper Kerman and I do not know her.


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