The Federal Department of Corrections in the NetFlicks show Orange is the New Black is really the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Other than that, Orange is the New Black's portrayal of the staff in the BOP is strikingly accurate. Watching this show is highly recommended for anyone that has been to federal prison, knows anyone in federal prison, or thinks they might end up in federal prison someday. The incompetence, immaturity, and sadistic behavior of the staff at Litchfield (which is really FCI Danbury) represents the staff at every federal facility that this author has been to. This author was incarcerated at FCI Sheridan from August of 2013 until January of 2014 and again in late 2017 and parts of 2018, and USP Victorville from January of 2015 until May of 2016. During that time this author experienced a beating at the hands of several prison guards in Victorville, (lawsuit followed, DC of Oregon Case No: 3:19-CV-00110-JGZ), was denied adequate healthcare, witnessed staff abuse inmates, witnessed staff look the other way while inmates are harmed, witnessed staff refusing to do their jobs, and witnessed them do their jobs improperly. There were a few decent staff members, but they were in the minority. It is hard to imagine a more accurate portrayal of the people that work in those place than Orange is the New Black.
Unfortunately, there are many aspects of the show that this author suspects of being inaccurate when it comes to how inmates are portrayed. However, this could be due to differences between prisons full of men and prisons full of women. Security levels might also play a role. Most of Orange is the New Black takes place in a minimum security camp (FCI Danbury). This author has never been to a low or minimum security facility. He has only been to medium and high security prisons.
Starting with a comparison of USP Victorville and Litchfield a.k.a. Danbury; homosexuality is not tolerated by the white car (the white inmates), if an inmate is discovered to have ever done anything homosexual he is smashed off the yard, but there are other racial groups that do tolerate a certain types of sexual diversity among their members (ex: gunners) and this author would not know if any of the other cars tolerate gays (other cars such as South Siders, Pisas, Natives, etc.); Cell thieves would be smashed off instantly and individual inmates would not be left alone to deal with their problems; a Mexican branding a white inmate would result in a war because the rule is that if a member of another race touches a member of your race then it is on and everyone jumps in; There would never be a war between two blocks where each is led by a member of the same race as took place at Lichfield maximum; wars are always race or gang related (for example the Whites and Surenos might go to war against the Blacks, or the Brand (Aryan Brotherhood) might go to war with the ABT (Aryan Brotherhood of Texas) even though both gangs are white; Finally, snitches are not allowed in general population, if an inmate were to tell on anyone they could not use their snitching for leverage like they do on Orange is the new black, they would be smashed, stabbed, or possibly killed.
Comparisons between FCI Sheridan and Litchfied a.k.a. Danbury produce more similarities A few years ago the BOP began changing Sheridan from an active general population yard to a (protective custody) PC yard. This was done by classifying a greater number of sex offenders, dropouts, and rats to Sheridan. As a result sex offenders, snitches, and homosexuals have their own cars and more freedoms than any of them would have at an active USP or FCI. At Sheridan there are a lot of gay men hooking up, people snitching on people they don't like and getting away with it, and just a lot of lames in general that do not have enough heart to do anything about it.
There is a camp at Sheridan and this author has met a number of people that have been there. At a minimum violence is rare and the likelihood of anyone doing anything against gays, rats, or sex offenders is small. For these reasons this author would not be surprised if the inmates Piper Kerman did time with at Danbury minimum were in fact like the show portrays them. Unfortunately, this author is highly skeptical of the show's portrayal of inmates at the maximum security facility.
Enjoy the video below of funny moments from the Show. This author is looking forward to Season 7 of Orange is the New Black (the final season). Productivity will suffer greatly when it comes out on July 26th.