image © 2013 Lionsgate 

Season 3 of Orange is the New Black, the fascinating insight into the US women’s prison system based on Piper Kerman’s own experience, is hotly anticipated and begins on 12th June on Netflix.

Seasons 1 and 2 of #OITNB provided glimpses of the events that led its female characters to be in prison, from heart-breaking coercion at the hands of calculating partners to poverty-induced desperation or simple mistakes. The beauty of each back-story was found in the humanisation of its characters, in stark contrast to the all-purpose ‘inmate!’ shouted by prison staff at any person within earshot and without regard for their name, sensitivities or individuality. The people Prisoners Abroad helps in prison overseas are often stripped of their humanity, and our services aim to restore their dignity and hope.

If you haven’t seen these yet, I would heartily encourage you to before a) starting to watch the third season and b) reading the thoughts and questions below, in case they otherwise spoil it for you!

There are many questions left unanswered at the end of the last series: do Vee and Rosa survive their respective dangers? Do the prison guards get any less corrupt? We know from the testimony of people who have been in prison in Brazil that corruption is everywhere. Is it any easier to have a relationship within these walls or with someone outside them? Prisoners Abroad supports families and helps people to stay in touch with the people they love because we realise how vital relationships are to feeling human. I suspect the answers to these questions may be no, no and no, but remain open-minded.

Will the fact that we have begun to see Officer Mendez’s softer side (having caused a woman to die from a drugs overdose, we see him falling in love with another) make him any less terrifying in the power he wields?

Will the baby fathered by a prison officer, and whose birth is imminent, be loved and protected despite its unusual start in life? Will anyone be punished, now that we have learned to care about parents Daya and Bennett and don’t want anyone to suffer?

All these issues, and I’m sure many more, will be in my mind as I sit and watch with bated breath. Orange is the New Black is presented as entertainment, but its drama portrays real things which I know are affecting hundreds of people supported by Prisoners Abroad right now around the world.

-Laura, Prisoners Abroad’s Prisoner and Family Support Manager

image © 2013 Lionsgate 

Orange is the New Black is available on