7 Real-Life Stories that Came Straight Out of Orange Is the New Black

The Litchfield struggles are real.

By now, you know the real story behind Orange Is the New Black’s Piper Chapman, Piper Kerman IRL, who spent a year in a women’s prison after smuggling money for an international drug cartel. But what is starting to freak us out is realizing that the pregnancies, drugs, escapes, and crazy ish that goes down at Litchfield isn’t all that outlandish. Here are real-life OITNB prison stories that will probably blow your mind.

  1. Escaping prison

    Netflix

    Season 2 closed with Rosa fleeing the prison in the van after Lorna “accidentally” left the keys inside. To complete her perfect escape, she ran Vee over, who escaped after pulling a Shawshank and creating an underground tunnel through the green house. Seems crazy, but people have done it. Most recently, you may have heard about two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, who broke out of a New York prison, reportedly to kill prison worker Joyce Mitchell’s husband. Mitchell allegedly helped their escape by agreeing to be the driver after threats were made against her and her husband. As of yet, Mitchell is in jail and the escapees are still on the run. Rosa and Vee both wound up dead, but you get the picture.

  2. A CO knocking up an inmate (or vise versa)

    Netflix

    We love watching Daya and Bennett’s adorable relationship blossom. But these real-life situations don’t seem nearly as romantic. In 2013, four female prison guards were impregnated by the same inmate at a Baltimore prison, reportedly part of a plan to smuggle drugs and cell phones in. Even if no one gets pregnant, we commonly hear about COs having sex with inmates. For example, in 2014, Ferguson corrections officer Jaris Hayden was charged for having sex with an inmate then allegedly helping her escape.

  3. Stealing money from the prison

    Netflix

    Natalie ultimately left after being caught embezzling money from the prison. In 2014, Stasia Lanning, a clerical supervisor at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, was charged for stealing money from an employee charitable account. After an audit was performed of the Employee Welfare Fund account she managed, over $73,800 was found missing. Stealing is bad, kids.

  4. An African American transgender woman

    Netflix

    Since OITNB premiered, Laverne Cox’s character Sophia has massively opened up the discussion of transgender issues. Cox is currently working on the documentary Free CeCe, a story about CeCe McDonald, who served time IRL. Their stories differ in regards to why they ended up in prison and what kinds of prisons they served time in (McDonald was in a Minnesota men’s prison), however the documentary will face transphobic violence and issues head-on as Sophia’s story does on the show.

  5. COs smuggling drugs inside

    Netflix

    In season 1, Pornstache smuggled pills into the prison and made Tricia take them, which ultimately let her to OD. This April, correctional officer Douglas Kerk of Pennsylvania’s Chester County Prison was arrested for bringing heroin and prescription drugs inside. He was reportedly paid $100 per delivery.

  6. The cell phone drama

    Netflix

    We all remember how hilariously weird Blanca’s cell phone extracurricular activity in the bathroom was. When Piper found it hidden behind a bathroom tile, it was a revelation. However, inmates have hid cell phones in much stranger places IRL. Prisoners have been caught smuggling in phones with sealed, prepackaged ramen soup, soda bottles, babies’ diapers during visitation, and up… body holes. All to update their Facebook pages. Seriously.

  7. Smuggling drugs from family

    Netflix

    In the Mother’s Day episode that kicked off season 3, we saw an inmate smuggle in drugs from her baby’s diaper during visitation. This has actually happened (as you saw in #6). But some families have gone to disturbing extremes to get their incarcerated relatives drugs. In 2010, California man Donald Denney was arrested for attempting to smuggle heroin into the federal prison in Florence, Colorado for his son Donald, through his anus.

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@taylorferber