Why Is Maria In Jail On 'Orange Is The New Black'? There's More To Learn About This Litchfield Inmate
Throughout the show's three seasons, Orange is the New Black has introduced viewers to the ladies of Litchfield both in the present day as they all attempt to navigate the politics of their fellow inmates as well as the staff, and through flashback in which we learn how many of the characters came to be incarcerated. So, let's take a closer look at one of the inmates: Why is Maria on Orange is the New Black in prison? Actually, we don't know that yet. We've gotten flashbacks for many of the major and recurring characters (more than one episode worth in some cases), but none for Maria so far.
However, let's take a look back on her time in Litchfield throughout the first three seasons. When we first met Maria, she was a pregnant member of the Spanish Harlem group of inmates, who was regularly visited by her boyfriend Yadriel. Maria gave birth in Season 1, but her daughter was immediately sent to live with Yadriel. In Season 2, Maria worked in the kitchen along with the other members of Spanish Harlem under Gloria Mendoza; she was also regularly visited by Yadriel — who transformed from a quiet stoic man to a talkative father — and her daughter Pepa.
In season 3, Maria's storyline took somewhat of a tragic turn when Yadriel decided that he should stop bringing Pepa to visit Maria in prison because he thought the child was beginning to understand her mother was in jail — and that took place in the episode titled "Mother's Day" no less. Later in the season, though, she gets into a fight with Daya, who is thinking about sending her newborn baby to live with the mother of George Mendez (better known as Pornstache) who believes the child to be her granddaughter. Maria, for her part, struggles with not being able to see her daughter, even though she recognizes it's the best thing for Pepa.
Still, as one of the supporting characters on Orange is the New Black, we don't know much about Maria's back story or what she did to be incarcerated. Since Maria was far along in her pregnancy when viewers met her in Season 1, it's safe to say she was still relatively new to prison. Plus, she mentions in Season 2 that she has six years left on her sentence, which means she was probably given roughly a seven year sentence.
Now, I did some research, and according to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, very few federal crimes have a seven year minimum sentence — and they all have to do with guns/weapons. But, these are minimum sentences for federal crimes only, which still leaves plenty of other possibilities. However, given the sentences for federal crimes, I would guess whatever Maria was convicted of, it was her first offense and wasn't a violent crime (which have longer minimum sentences).
So, we don't know exactly what Maria was sent to Litchfield for, and we can't narrow it down too much based on what we know of her character. But, Season 4 could be the perfect opportunity for Orange is the New Black to dive deeper into her history, especially since we see her having beef with Piper in the trailer. Plus, even if the show doesn't choose to explore her character this year, they still have Season 5, 6, and 7 to do so. Hopefully we get more information on Maria soon though because I, for one, am extremely curious.
Images: Ali Goldstein/Netflix; Giphy