by Chelo Grubb
When I learned that there would be a Netflix series based on OITNB, I couldn’t wait to watch it. I stopped watching it early on in the second season though, because sadly, the series doesn’t reflect the women in the camp as I know them.
For example, the visiting room scenes do not adequately portray the pain that permeates the room as mothers and their children are forced to sit side-by-side and not touch or comfort each other. The Bureau of Prisons used to hold a family day where children and their parents could spend hours together in a less restrictive environment and touch and play. This humane visitation day has since been cancelled by the BOP.
The series doesn’t show how many nonviolent women who were given harsh mandatory-minimum sentences are denied the right to become mothers because their childbearing years were stolen from them. The series doesn’t show how a male gynecologist was so rough giving pelvic exams to women who had not been sexually active in years that women refused PAP smears because of the pain he inflicted.
The series doesn’t show how in 2013, despite the BOP’s “mission” of keeping people in prison within 500 miles from their homes, the BOP decided to shut down the only federal correctional institution for women in the northeast to convert it to a male prison. The women were being sent to Alabama—over 1,100 miles away.