Prisons Run on Hope (And Cup O’Noodles)


Teenage inmates at the Avon Park Youth Academy showed us how valuable some Cup O’Noodles can be in their detention facility.  After one team lost a basketball game and didn’t pay up the predetermined amount of Cup O’Noodles, the facility was overtaken by angry rioters.  They broke windows, golf carts, and started an office on fire. It took 150 officers to bring the melee to an end.

While a seemingly simple thing, noodles in a Styrofoam cup, the riots that broke out in Florida illustrate how important the “little things” can be in the life of a prisoner. Foods, activities, even certain kinds of soap are a link to the outside world—and normalcy.  For some prisoners, these are the little threads that hold them together in their dark, cinder-block world. Everyone needs a shred of hope that keeps them sane, alive, and breathing each day—even if it’s just a cup of noodles.

In the fictional world of Orange is the New Black, “hope” is also a  pervasive theme. Each character has their own “anti-depressant” to keep them going while locked up in Litchfield.