Literacy & Prison

nb: if you haven’t seen Orange is the New Black you might not understand this, but regardless you should go watch the entire series on Netflix immediately 

More than 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate. 

If you’ve watched Orange is the New Black, which you should, you’ll know that literacy is something that is not addressed in the first season (and potentially the second season I haven’t finished yet). Piper gets mailed stacks of books every week, and she shares them with her inmates. There are several scenes set in the prison library. Taystee reads a book about how to prepare for an interview. Daya reads an article about folic acid. 

People often debate how accurate race is portrayed in the series. Sometimes, it’s a conversation about how accurately prison is depicted. But now I wonder, how accurate is the literacy gap shown in the series? If we’re being realistic, it probably should have at least come up once thus far. 




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