Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Ethnic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Joanne Belknap

Second Advisor

Dr. Emma Pérez

Third Advisor

Dr. Emmanuel David


The unprecedented rise in the United States incarceration rates since the 1980s only recently leveled off, yet continues to have tremendous impacts on women. Research on incarcerated women was extremely rare until the 1980s, but has grown since. The Netflix series Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) premiered in 2013, yielding an unprecedented, that is, the most public narrative of women “doing time,” in the case of OITNB in a federal prison. Although there have been a number of studies on OITNB using analysis of the series, to date no research has been conducted on incarcerated women’s views on Orange Is the New Black. This study aims to give voices to these women who are often rendered invisible and helps illustrate to the non-incarcerated members of society how accurately or inaccurately this show aligns with their lived experiences and perceptions of incarceration.