“Orange is the New Black” : Predictions for New Season

Filming is complete, but there’s still no release date for Season 2 of the acclaimed Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” It looks like we’ll have to wait till mid-2014.

What are your predictions? I have zero insider information, but here are mine anyway!

1. The show will continue to make jail look much more entertaining than it really is. That’s show biz!

2. There will be even deeper exploration of many diverse characters and their backstories. This is the glory of the show. Audiences will grow more compassionate, and the millions of incarcerated Americans won’t seem so much like faceless strangers.

3. The “war on drugs” will be evident as a major player in characters’ stories. Their stories will explore its abject failure in terms of preventing drug abuse, and its huge success in terms of generating profits for both drug dealers and corporate prison-builders.

4. A pregnant character will have a hard time with jail food and bedding. She will get in trouble for squirreling away extra cartons of milk. Her family will be unable to put money into her telephone and commissary accounts.

5. As in the first season, homeless characters will return to jail because the food, bedding, safety, and health care are better than the streets. (The show was filmed before the recent slashing of food stamp / SNAP cuts — perhaps Season 3 will see hungry people committing crimes so they can eat jail food.)

6. There will be a birth scene that explores the issues that incarcerated mothers face: lack of contact with family, strip searches, shackling, the presence of an armed officer during labor, and the excruciating moment of separation from the newborn. Perhaps some characters will gently support the mother throughout this ordeal. (In real life, that’s what prison doula projects are for. But there are only a handful of us nationwide so far.) Perhaps the new mother will endure abrupt methadone or subutex withdrawal once the baby is born, and perhaps she will be placed in segregation during that time. Perhaps the baby will go to intensive care unit to be treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome.

7. There will be more exploration of what happens to the children of incarcerated mothers. We saw just a bit of that in Season 1 (Sophia’s son), and in Season 2 we’ll see babies, toddlers, and teens cope with various custody and visiting arrangements.

8. There will be at least one professional, skillful, and ethical corrections officer who isn’t eaten alive by incarcerated women, colleagues, or the show itself. This humane character will explore the personal and professional challenges of working with a population so disproportionately affected by trauma, abuse, oppression, and poverty, in a setting that is by definition yet another trauma. She will explore the purpose of incarceration: rehabilitation? punishment? revenge? She will embody the highest standards of safety, respect, and healing. She will be skeptical of liars, sensible about prison politics, and sensitive to the hidden emotional agendas of everyone she encounters.

Oh, wait, that would be if the Betazoid empath Lt. Commander Deanna Troi left Star Trek for Orange. I always liked her.

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