Under the Radar

Sound Off: Veteran Employment & 'Orange is the New Black'


Season four of women's prison drama series Orange is the New Black has just gone live on Netflix and some of us at Military.com noticed a curious conversation in Episode 2 ("Power Suit"). There's a scene that features the prison's new private corporate management team discussing ways to solve Litchfield's overcrowding and staffing issues. Someone suggests that military veterans might make good corrections officers:


It's a scene that's barely mentioned in any of the many, many OITNB episode recaps that have already popped up online. A corporate suit excitedly suggests veterans (!) as the solution to the company's search for "quality COs." Of course, the main reason she's excited is that the federal government gives tax credits for hiring veteran. The longer the vet has been unemployed, the bigger the tax credit.

One of the other suits says they looked into that but, "You know, veterans." Then he makes an imaginary gun with his finger and mows down the table.

"Yeah, but if we hire them as guards and anything happens, they're already in prison," the first suit replies triumphantly.

Boss wants to know how much they can get with the tax credit. "$5000-$6000 if they've been unemployed for a year," says mass shooter suit. First suit helpfully points out that "It's double that if they're on crutches or in a wheelchair or something like that." Warden Joe Caputo points out, "That might make the guards less effective," but he loves the idea of hiring vets.

Corporate doesn't want to pay to move veterans to the area but Caputo proposes fixing up some abandoned cabins on the prison's out property and offering free housing as an incentive.

So, here's the question: are you offended by this? Are the show's writers clueless or are they actually making fun of how clueless corporate America can be when it comes to veteran hiring? Will scenes like this help all those latte-drinking, bike-riding urban hipsters who love their Netflix understand how things really work or will it just reinforce their prejudices? Sound off!


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