Disclaimer I do not know whether to put spoilers or not, because it would really ruin the readability (I put some up for the biggest events of the last season)... However this question concerns seasons 3 and 4 (which aired last week so be careful !!) of Orange is the New Black.

Somewhere during the events of season 3 (I cannot remember the exact episode), the Litchfield prison was "bought" (for a lack of better word on my side) by Management & Correction Corporation (MCC), a big corporation which specializes in running and managing prisons in place of the Federal Department of Corrections (FDC) -- in exchange of payment for the care of the inmates.

Still during season 3, we see some changes, for both inmates and correctional officers (CO) : new work assignments for inmates (including a work as sewer for a out-of-universe fake in-universe real lingerie de luxe company), change of hours of the COs, and, of course, the food, which goes from cooked to sous-vide. These are major changes, but we also see minor changes.
We also see many reunions Caputo attends at MCC, and the corporation is definitely painted as evil and non-friendly ever since they came into the show.

Now, in season 4 stop reading if you did not watch it yet, the corporation acts like the inmates' health and rights really do not matter to them, and they are only interested in the $10.000 paid for each inmate by the FDC. All over the season we see problems escalating, turning Litchfield from a peaceful (I guess ?) prison with its rivalries between some inmates, to

an actual revolution at the climax of the season finale, where anger primes, because of the obvious incompetence demonstrated by the newly hired COs.

The mismanagement of the facility even brought major spoiler for penultimate episode

the death of an inmate during a peaceful protest, which was an accident but happened because of the lack of training from the COs.

So, I was wondering, as a non-American citizen unaware of federal and national legislature in the USA, isn't the corporation breaking, like, a lot of laws regarding safety and regulations, like hiring unqualified people to supervise felons ? In Europe, where I do not think private-run prisons are a thing, the corporation would most likely have broken a lot of laws...

I also understand the writers of the show clearly want us to take some kind of pity towards the inmates (and, at some point, the obviously unprepared COs), to have us think prisoners are people (I mean, they are), and the corporation is bad, capitalism will ruin us etc., which maybe shows there is not a real continuity with all the judiciary system in-universe.

Any kind of answer which could point out any (in)accuracy about this case, or if you know other examples of corporations (in real life) which can apply here, is gladly encouraged !

  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… + copblock.org/149319/…
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 9:38
  • @BCdotWEB thanks a lot ! the links you provided confirm the show is written accurately according to real-life private prisons. I can find some similarities between the show and the characteristics of a private prison. However, still according to your links, except for some major scandals, I cannot find any instance where a corporation is sued or implicated for the safety of inmates... Nonetheless, thanks !
    – tlombart
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Transcorp and CCA are the largest contract facilities that the BOP uses. It is well known that if you are sentenced to a contract prison, you are going to a shittier one. These companies cannot run USPs, however, as these are maximum security prisons. Overall, the people working at these places (GEOCorp is another big one that also runs federal halfway-houses) only care about money--they treat it as a job, and treat you as a number. They control the funds, and want to cut corners as much as possible, whereas in a regular FCC, the officials there overall do not care about saving money for the fiscal year. It does not roll over, and they do not get bonuses. Contract prisons also are known for having shittier food, almost unpalatable, but violence is a lot less likely. (Though this can be attributed to the fact that they run lows and camps, and not high-security or maximum security penitentiaries.)

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    You might want to expand the numerous acronyms in this answer, as it's unclear to someone not familiar with the terminology what it all means. Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 3:20

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