Punishment In Prison

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With society’s focus on punishment and retribution towards criminals, it is often forgotten that one of the main purposes of prison is rehabilitation. Orange is the New Black provides a representation for woman inmates in a media dominated by crime shows depicting all criminals as the bad guys. Humanizing inmates, OITNB shows how almost anyone can become a criminal, especially with a focus towards minority women growing up with inadequate needs. Abuse of power among prison guards, long-term exposure to social isolation, and racial bias may fit towards the punishment ideology but do little towards rehabilitation.
As depicted throughout the series, the extreme isolation of prison negatively effects all inmates. With rules of no touching or contact
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Isolation as punishment is an issue commonly shown in OITNB. Sending inmates to SHU (Solitary Housing Unit) does not deal with the issue behind inmate’s misbehavior, but instead isolates them and ignores any issues behind these unwanted behaviors. Solitary confinement can lead to aggravation of inmates pre-existing conditions (such as mental health.) The realities of solitary confinement are shown from the perspective of three very different inmates all who do not seemingly benefit from the exposure to extreme isolation. SHU barely offers humane living conditions with small, never dark, concrete rooms consisting of only a bed and a toilet. Inmates are left to think, with no mental stimulation and the only interaction of a guard delivering moldy inedible food. The viewer’s first experience of SHU shows' release after being sent for disrespectful behavior and emphasizes the joy she experiences of being outside after being locked in a…show more content…
While people of affluence may still commit crimes, they have access to resources the working class do not (expensive legal representation) and often commit different types of crime (white collar versus street crime.) When punished, they commonly receive less time incarcerated for the same crime committed. Differential treatment towards minorities is apparent in OITNB, with prison life shown from the perspective of many women from very different class and racial backgrounds. Racist behaviour and mentality is exhibited towards inmates, with harsher punishments towards those of colour. Faced with trouble in prison, Sophia is sent to SHU despite being the victim of hate-crimes because she is the minority in the situation (being both a racial minority and transgender.) OITNB shows white women get a warning for the same behaviour that gets black women thrown in solitary (). Preferential treatment occurs while a celebrity white woman receives a sentence for a white-collar crime, and instead of being subjected to the de-humanizing treatment that is normal in prison, still receives celebrity treatment. The stark contrast of prison life from different racial perspectives highlight the inequalities of the criminal justice
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