But Healy's far from the only criminal correctional officer. Trading blow for blow jobs, Pornstache is a one-man prison profiteer. Bennett, one of the more sympathetic guards, engages in a sincere but still inappropriate relationship with one of the prisoners--and uses his authority to punish her when their relationship sours. Caputo instructs Fischer, one of his new guards, "You maintain your authority. You remind them who's in charge...It helps if you don't use their names. Just say, ‘Inmate,' like they're all the same to you. It reminds them they're not really people." Kindhearted Fischer is the exception that proves the rule.

© 2013 Lionsgate
© 2013 Lionsgate

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With a defunct GED program and a severely curtailed jobs program, Litchfield has no chance at offering its inmates rehabilitation, the objective that 18th-century thinkers like Jeremy Bentham held up in advocating for a system of mass incarceration. (The modern prison system was intended as an improvement over public beheadings.) But as Orange Is the New Black shows, the consequence of incarceration is the flagrant and widespread abuse of power. Prisoners are punished for their crimes with other crimes. As the cases of Healy, Pornstache, Caputo, and prison administrator Natalie Figueroa demonstrate, power needn't be absolute to corrupt absolutely. Since prisons can't function without an imbalance of power between the guards and prisoners, Kohan's series illustrates how incarceration is an invitation to injustice. Orange doesn't offer any alternatives to incarceration--and its criticisms are easier to make within a minimum-security prison like Litchfield--but the series definitively proves the prison system to be much more unjust than any inmate's crime.



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4 comments
k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Show is not that good, in my opinion. Netflix is riding buzz like AMC from House. Orange also tries to sympathize with every criminal, and make them appear victims. Oh, its just credit card theft....or drug smuggling...they are really nice people. Whatever netflix...this show has about as much suspense as the muppet movies.

arexandra
arexandra

@k2yeb but i do agree, this show isn't THAT smart, the writing is whatever but the less important characters are the most dynamic and do make the show kinda worth watching.

arexandra
arexandra

@k2yeb oh please, the muppet movies have much more creative humor than this show.   they might seem "childish" but try not to knock genius.

thomas.m.crouse
thomas.m.crouse

@arexandra @k2yeb Agreed on both counts. Dialogue is occasionally awkward and some plot points are contrived enough to test my willing suspension of disbelief.  And I usually suspend a lot of disbelief for prison shows.

However, there are moments, often featuring the minor characters, that make this show just barely watchable.

 

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