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'OITNB' Explores A Very Real Prison Issue

Warning: Episode 1 spoilers ahead! Orange is the New Black Season 5 is a hectic journey that follows a three-day riot inside the walls of Litchfield prison. After Daya shoots one of the guards in the leg, chaos breaks out. The riot throws everything into disarray, with inmates taking guards prisoner, stealing supplies, and trying to find a way to stay safe. While there's initial excitement in the melee, the realization that there will be consequences sets in fast. But what might those consequences be? What happens to inmates after a riot?

The circumstances of the riot on Orange is the New Black are extreme, but far from unrealistic. There have been many prison riots throughout history that resulted in the death of multiple people and even the escape of inmates. What happens after changes depending on specific situation: provided the tides turn and control returns to the administration (which it inevitably does), then a few things are likely to happen.

First an investigation would be launched to determine who was responsible for what, which could last years without satisfactory results; as Poussey's murder demonstrated, justice being served is rare. After that, punishments would be handed out. That could mean separation of groups who were particularly contentious during the riot, added sentence time, or solitary confinement. It's unlikely that the demands of the prisoners would be met, though it has happened in some situations. Regardless, they're sure to get more punishment.

A recent prison riot in Brazil resulted in the deaths of 56 inmates and the escape of 126 more. Over 200 prisoners were then moved to another prison for their own safety, which could be a possibility on Orange is the New Black; some characters could at the very least find themselves in Max based on their actions during the riot. Security could be increased too, leading to even harsher conditions at Litchfield than what was seen in Season 4.

While the consequences for the riot on Orange is the New Black won't be clear until the dust has settled, it did expose how dire the conditions were becoming at Litchfield, with guards taking advantage of inmates to a horrifying degree. The downside is that things are sure to get worse before they get better, and even then it's uncertain just how much anything can be improved when the system is what it is.

The Litchfield inmates tried to make their anger and frustration known to those in charge in any way they could, but it might end up keeping them behind bars for much longer. We'll find out soon enough.