Though the core cast of Orange Is The New Black has remained pretty much the same, there are always additions and subtractions as time goes on. After all, people leave prison, and people get thrown back in prison, and it all goes around and round and round. One of the newest additions to Litchfield is Alison Abdullah, having been transferred after private prison company MCC expanded their plans for total prison domination. Why is Alison, the show's only muslim inmate, in prison on OITNB?
Alison is one of my favorite characters. She refuses to get in fights or to pick sides in trivial matters, showing that she’s smart and definitely has a strong head on her shoulders. Even when Cindy, her bunkmate, pushes every button Alison had, Alison stays focused and tries not to let it bother her at all. Of course, she’s not a total goodie two-shoes — Alison uses her hijab to hide a cell phone, a cell phone that she uses to communicate with her daughter, Farah (viewers have seen the texts talking about them missing each other). What else do we know about Alison? She actually has bright red dreadlocks underneath that hijab. That and… well, not much else.
Her relationships at the beginning of Season 4 were a little rocky, but by the end of Season 4, she seemed to have assimilated into the group with Cindy, Janae, and Taystee. All of the women tried to get a cell phone photo of Judy King together; they mourned Poussey’s death together; and Alison and Cindy bonded especially when talking about how much they hate Scientology (go figure).
Orange Is The New Black’s strongest episodes are the ones where they do a total deep dive backstory into each woman on the show, and Alison just hasn’t had her turn yet. Most of those episodes stop way short of saying exactly what the inmate did to get sent to prison, and viewers don’t yet have a clear look into Alison’s background.
Personally, I only have a few ideas as to what she could be in prison for. She doesn’t seem like the type to deal in drugs. Alison is clearly very smart (not that you can’t sell drugs and be smart at the same time), but it seems like she would be in for something more unique. Maybe it’s a con or identity theft crime like Maritza’s. Or perhaps some weapons charges? Viewers also haven’t been privy to how long Alison’s sentence is, so it could be only a year for a low-level offense or a longer one, like Maria’s decade term, for something worse. So far, Alison has stayed strong for her daughter, but I’m sure we’ll see her break soon enough. That’s what Litchfield does to people. And when it does happen, all will be revealed as to how Alison ended up where she did.