My friend Susan K. (a pseudonym) is a decidedly reformed ex-convict who spent four years in Maryland maximum security prison for drug-related armed robbery in the late '90s. (Read her full story here.) Last year, we reviewed multiple episodes of Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix show that takes place in a women’s prison.
She has agreed to review a few episodes of Season 3. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Episode Two: "Bed Bugs and Beyond"
Flaca is undergoing an examination in the infirmary, and the diagnosis is bedbugs.
Arts Desk: Did Jessup or Patuxent ever have any infestations or anything like that?
Susan: No, not while I was there. Believe it or not, everybody was pretty fastidious when it came to cleanliness. I mean, it was weird, because nobody shaved their legs or armpits or anything, but if you went a few days without showering everybody would call you “trifling.”
Yeah, as in, “That trifling-ass bitch needs to take her ass to the showers.” It got pretty juvenile at times. Like, in Jessup each cell had its own toilet. They were these fucking metal jobs that didn’t have seats, you know, so it took you awhile to get used to using it. But every now and then somebody would let go with this loud old dump and would stink up the entire section, and you’d have 30 bitches screaming at whoever it was. Like “Damn, you trifling bitch! Put some water on it! Put some water on it! Damn, girl you ALLLLLLLLL fucked up!”
Did that ever happen to you?
Oh, dude, it happened to everybody. They would have put Michelle Obama through the same treatment if she were in there.
But there was never a lice infestation or anything?
No. The peer pressure to stay clean was pretty high. And I never had a problem with that. Heroin addict, yes. Armed robber, yes. Wiccan, yes. Dirty hippie, fuck no.
Bennett and Daya are having an intimate conversation in the dormitory. Along with most of the other inmates, Daya is half-naked.
I can’t really relate to this. The snuggly little conversation between Opie and the pregnant chick is like, rom-com bullshit.