Acting To Change Lives

By: A’Breya Young

Lights… camera….  prison. For the ladies of Litchfield Correctional Facility, the daily struggle of sleeping on concrete slabs, eating slop, working hard labor, and searching for a lawyer are all in front of the spotlight. It leaves questions on if prison life on camera is the same in real facilities.

Actors of Netflix original, Orange Is The New Black have portrayed the struggle of living behind bars. On the show, a woman named Cindy Hayes, serves her sentence at Litchfield for the crime of theft. During “chowtime”, Cindy ran across an inmate eating a meal that actually looked appetizing. Seeing as Cindy was is in prison, meals with crunchy vegetables and edible meat, were treasure to a lost land called  the stomach. When finding out that Kosher meals were served at the prison, over half of inmates began to open their Torahs ( judaism’s most sacred text) and fill up on delicious food. Soon, the jig up, and those who were genuinely not of Jewish faith went back to eating mush. As for Cindy she wasn’t going down easy… ordering a “rent a Rabbi” was tactic when playing “The Hunger Games”. Surprisingly, all went according to plan for Cin “cough cough” I mean Tova.

OITNB has inspired inmates in prison to convert to Judaism in efforts to eat food that provides nourishment to their body. The Telegraph writer, Laura FitzPartrick explains that, “[i]nspectors who visited HMP Edinburgh ordered an ‘urgent investigation’ after almost £1 million was spent serving specially prepared kosher meals to more than 100 prisoners in 2017.” These numbers led to the introduction of a stricter restrictions scheme to see who was Jewish. I guess the spoon of too small to feed the whole village huh.

Aside from food, Orange  touche on the subject, that ex felons who are released from prison don’t opportunities or resources to get back on their feet; making it a major factor as to why ex felons are sent back to prison. 

Danille Brooks plays Taystee on OITNB. A few weeks after Brooks character was released, she was sent back to Prison for violation of Parole. Taking a lesson from her experience of landing back in prison, Taystee creates the Poussey Washington fund; in honor of her late friend. Although, this is introduced on the show, Orange did start this campaign to help female inmates preparing to leave Prison. 

The Poussey Washington Fund is a campaign used to keep inmates afloat when enter the real world. This campaign works by providing inmates with financial classes and giving them microloans after being released from prison. 

It is a great thing when something fictional and make an impact on reality. My question is, why do inmates have to go the extra mile to obtain humanistic rights. That just comes to show that prison facilities aren’t doing their jobs in taking care of inmates. It’s funny to think that inmates are locked up when the leaders of prison facilities are the animals.

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