Many fans say the season 5 premiere of Orange Is the New Black fell short of their expectations. However, for those effected by moms in prisons, it was a wake-up call and jolting reminder all at the same time.

OITNB: Moms in Prisons

OITNB: Mother & Daugther Prisoners Dayanara Diaz and Aleida Diaz are both moms in prisons.

OITNB: Mother & Daugther Prisoners Dayanara Diaz and Aleida Diaz

Fans remember OITNB season 3 opened with a prison Mother’s Day episode. It touched on various emotional, mental and psychological issues incarcerated mothers and their kids and families deal with every day.

These emotions are magnified during special holidays. For women prisoners, and their children, Mother’s Day is one of the roughest days of the year.

The Inspiration Behind “Orange Is the New Black”

The Netflix prison series Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) was prompted by the life of ex-federal inmate Piper Kerman. She wrote about her experiences as a federal prisoner in her book Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.

Some of the issues seen on the saga that come directly from her book of prison life include:

OITNB Brings “Real Life” to Netflix

On the now infamous OITNB, women prisoners from very diverse backgrounds are featured. And, just like in real life, the women’s prison population keeps growing and growing.

And, just like in real life, many of them are moms in prisons trying to parent their kids from behind bars.

In real life, OITNB brings to reality, just how many women are in prisons across the globe… and, just how many prison kids are walking outside the gates… without parents!

Statistics on Moms in Prisons in the US

A Child Trends report shows that over 5 million kids in the US have had one or more of their resident parents incarcerated at some time in their lives. I, personally… am no exception! 


The number of mothers doing time in state and federal prisons has more than doubled since 1991. It’s estimated to be about 120,000 women incarcerated in these US prisons.

And, just like our OITNB friend Piper, most women are in prisons for non-violent offenses.

In most cases, when women are sent to prisons, they are the custodial parents of the prison children left behind. This has profound effects on these kids, the people left to raise them and other family and loved ones.

It’s a Bit Different When Mom’s in Prison

Paternal incarceration is bad enough.

But, to lose a mother to the prison system, especially when she’s the custodial parent, can influence that child in many negative ways.

Many of these prison children with moms in prisons suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Negative behavior
  • Major issues in school
  • Academic failures

So, how do these prison moms deal with being away from their children, mates and other family members, and still maintain their sanity?

And, what about the prison kids? What happens to their lives when their mothers go to prisons?

Follow Our Blog

Read Part 2 of this report…

OITNB Reminds Us What Happens When Mom Goes to Prison

Kiesha Joseph is the owner of Content Marketing Geek Corporation. Her company provides white hat, inbound marketing services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, bloggers and authors. Ms. Joseph enjoys swimming, cooking, eating, dancing, and of course writing. Kiesha is currently the managing content editor for Prison Rideshare Network news for inmates’ loved ones.