Since the spike in numbers of women in prison in approximately the 1980s, female prisons have been portrayed through a plethora of media channels, like movies, television shows, books, etc. Netflix’s original drama series, “Orange Is the New Black,” (OITNB), for example, portrays life inside women’s prisons as romanticized and sensationalized, especially in regards to their access to quality healthcare. One popular story line of OITNB, features the character of Miss Rosa, who has cancer, being driven to the hospital multiple times a week for cancer treatment. In reality, many women in prison do not have the luxury of regular visits with medical professionals or access to treatment. Many diagnoses are made too late for successful treatment. The racial diversity seen on shows like OITNB is not at all reflective of the reality in the prison population. The majority of women in prison are not white like Piper, Alex, Red, and many of the other characters on OITNB. The large majority of women in prison are black and suffering from the lack of medical attention and gross indifference by prison healthcare systems. The institution of mass incarceration has become an additional system that promotes the indifference and oppression of women, specifically women of color, by neglecting their human right to basic healthcare in prison.
First-Year Writing Contest 2017
Stephanie M. Caparelli
Rabizadeh, Rebecca R., "Sex, Drugs, and Rock Hard Mattresses" (2017). Lake Forest Papers.