I might be a massive fan of Orange Is the New Black, but that doesn't mean I'd ever want to live it. But unfortunately for Teresa Giudice, she doesn't have a choice. As of Monday morning, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star officially signed herself into prison to begin serving her 15 month sentence — and it just so happens that Teresa Giudice is staying at Danbury, the same prison on which OITNB is based. This obviously begs an important question: how will Teresa's experience compare to the one we've seen Piper face on the show?
The bad news? All the best parts about OITNB won't be there because they're fictional. There are no legendary magical chickens running around the yard waiting for prisoners to absorb their powers, no Crazy Eyes to keep things interesting, and Laverne Cox's Sophia won't be styling hair and spreading gossip in the cosmetology room. The good news? There are bound to be way less scary scandals, there is no Pennsatucky, and according to my research, the worst parts about Litchfield are greatly exaggerated from the best-selling Piper Kerman memoir on which the show is based.
Teresa is in for a long 15 months, made even more difficult by the fact that she's separated from her children. Her experience definitely won't be reality show worthy — in fact, it'll probably be pretty boring.
The Dining Hall & Commissary
Despite Red's best efforts in the kitchen, the food at Litchfield is obviously nothing to write home about, and in the pilot episode, Piper gets into a lot of trouble for pointing that out. Unfortunately, Danbury's dining conditions sound about the same. One prisoner describes the food as varying "from terrible to good," although prisoners do get special meals on holidays. Hang in there, Teresa — Easter's not that far away!
As far as the commissary goes? It's a lot like the show in that way. Just like Piper had to get anything beyond the basics (including shower shoes) at the commissary, Teresa will too, and this list of items inmates can order is pretty inclusive. She can get extra clothes and underwear, toiletries, snacks, and even certain cosmetics, although they will be nothing like what she's used to using.
Anytime Polly and Larry visit Piper, there are all kinds of rules, and Piper is constantly getting yelled at for inappropriate contact. Unfortunately, this is exactly what will happen when Teresa's family comes to visit. As outlined in the official Danbury visitor's regulations, inmates may only receive visitors from 8:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m. on weekends, Mondays, and holidays — and yes, just like in OITNB, they have to be on the visitor's list. Physical contact (except handholding) is limited upon arrival and departure like in the show, too.
Just like Piper works as an electrician, Teresa will be given a job, too, and according to former prisoners, jobs include "kitchen, orderly, painting and construction, workshop, yard worker and library or educational and some clerical positions." Sounds like a blast!
The Other Prisoners
While Teresa might end up being intimidated by fellow prisoners, chances are there are some who will be nice to her. Just as Piper was welcomed by Lorna with a few essentials when she first arrived at Litchfield, the same practice goes on at Danbury. "There were a group of inmates that gave her a care package with toiletries when she arrived on site," a user on a forum called Prison Talk said of her mother's experience at the prison. "They supposedly do this for all new inmates since SS is usually always on Friday and the commissary isn't open 'til Tuesday."
A former inmate's best tip: "My advice in surviving it, is make yourself useful to other women. Help with GED classes, create a study group, be a legal researcher, work really hard."
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