If you’ve read Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black, you probably have a firm mental image of the women’s prison in Danbury, CT. I haven’t seen the Netflix series, so I don’t know how many creative embellishments were involved in the adaptation.
Piper Kerman was housed in the minimum security satellite camp. I don’t have a copy of her book within reach (I donated mine right after finishing it, so with luck someone else has read it by now), but the book gave the impression that the prison’s main building was maximum security.
According to the Bureau of Prisons (B.O.P.) website, three facilities operate on prison grounds in Danbury. Currently, two are “low” security, and the one with the smallest inmate population is “minimum” security:
Policies for security and inmate demographics are subject to change. The federal prison in Dublin, CA, where Patricia Hearst served time for a bank robbery conviction, has gone back and forth on housing male inmates. So has Danbury.
NPR has reported on disastrous conditions for more than one hundred of Danbury’s inmates after they were transferred to a municipal jail in Brooklyn. The transfers were the result of a plan to change the gender makeup of Danbury’s inmate population and allow new construction. Here’s a link:
If you have more time than I do today, take a look at this September 2014 paper attributed to seven scholars with the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale University Law School. I’ve only skimmed the document, but it mentions that some women from the Danbury prison were transferred to a new federal prison in Alabama, which has made it difficult or impossible for their families to visit.
If you see overlap between this link and other text on the page, rest assured the link still works: