Here's why 16 'Orange Is the New Black' characters are in prison

Here's why 16 'Orange Is the New Black' characters are in prison
The women of Litchfield all have stories to tell.
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix
The women of Litchfield all have stories to tell.
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Season five of Orange Is the New Black didn't introduce new characters, but it's still hard to keep track of Litchfield's unwieldy inmate population. Here are some helpful rap sheets for those times you can't remember why these women are in prison in the first place.

Lorna Morello-Muccio (née Morello)

Yael Stone as Lorna
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Expressing her love through trespassing and attempted murder

Backstory: Morello talked a lot about her "fiancé," but it was revealed through flashbacks that he was actually just a man she began stalking after one date. She even attempted to murder his girlfriend by leaving an explosive device in her car.

Suzanne Warren, aka "Crazy Eyes"

Uzo Aduba as Suzanne
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Accidental kidnapping; involuntary manslaughter of a minor

Backstory: Suzanne didn't realize that "inviting a child to play video games in her apartment without telling his parents" was actually the same as "kidnapping." When he tried to go home, Suzanne begged him not to leave, but the creeped-out kid backed away and accidentally fell from a fire escape.

Brook Soso

Kimiko Glenn as Soso
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Activism gone wrong

Backstory: We haven't actually seen the act that landed Brook in prison, but her flashbacks reveal that she lied to and manipulated her coworkers during her activist work. From what we know of the character, Brook wouldn't have been above criminal behavior such as trespassing. And we do learn in season two that she was arrested for protesting.

Maritza Ramos

Diane Guerrero as Maritza
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Grand theft auto

Backstory: Maritza moonlighted as a conwoman for a spell, but got caught trying to steal a car when one of her targets became suspicious.

Piper Chapman

Taylor Schilling as Piper
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Money laundering

Backstory: Piper's then-ex-girlfriend Alex named her during an investigation into Alex's extended drug-smuggling operation.

Galina Reznikov, aka "Red"

Kate Mulgrew as Red
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Smuggling, conspiracy to commit murder, possibly actual murder — just generally being super-shady

Backstory: Red's flashbacks showed she took on a major role in her husband's drug ring, which involved smuggling of illegal goods. In season four, it's revealed that she also had five dead bodies in her freezer at the time of her arrest.

Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson

Danielle Brooks as Taystee
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Heroin trafficking, followed by not wanting to leave prison

Backstory: Taystee initially ended up in jail by trafficking heroin for surrogate mother Vee, the villain of season two. She was released during season one, but she had so much trouble adjusting to the real world that she purposely violated parole to land back in prison with bestie, Poussey.

Nicky Nichols

Natasha Lyonne as Nicky
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Breaking and entering, heroin possession

Backstory: Nicky got busted for breaking into a woman's house to sell her expensive books. She had heroin on her person at the time.

Sophia Burset

Laverne Cox as Sophia
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Credit card fraud

Backstory: Sophia stole credit cards to finance her sex-change operation. Her son, embarrassed by her transition, turned her in.

Cindy "Black Cindy" Hayes

Adrienne C. Moore as Black Cindy
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Felony theft

Backstory: Her prison sentence may have something to do with the fact that she stole passengers' items while working as a TSA agent.

Carrie "Big Boo" Black

Lea DeLaria as Big Boo
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Pick one: theft, running a gambling ring, assault

Backstory: Big Boo refers to being a "thieving dyke" and running a gambling operation before coming to Litchfield. She also once assaulted a boy for making homophobic comments.

Janae Watson

Vicky Jeudy as Janae
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Pulling a Bonnie and Clyde

Backstory: Janae robbed a check-cashing establishment with her boyfriend, a gang member. A gifted track star, she tried running from the crime — but her boyfriend told her to slow down and stop showing off. That got her arrested.

Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett

Taryn Manning as Pennsatucky
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Attempted murder?

Backstory: Pennastucky was a little miffed when an abortion clinic nurse made derogatory comments about her getting her fifth abortion. In Pennsatucky's world, guns speak louder than words — so she shot the nurse.

Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales

Jackie Cruz as Flaca
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Fraud, possible accidental manslaughter

Backstory: In high school, she committed fraud by selling fake LSD to her fellow students. One of them jumped off a building when he thought he was tripping.

Gloria Mendoza

Selenis Leyva as Gloria
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Fraud

Backstory: Gloria has one of the saddest backstories. She tried saving up money to leave her abusive boyfriend by committing food stamp fraud, but one of the less pleasant patrons of her mystic shop called the cops on her.

Norma Romano

Annie Golden as Norma
Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Offense: Straight up murder, fam

Backstory: Litchfield's resident mute killed her cult leader/husband after he mocked her for "wasting her life" on him. She pushed him off a cliff. Assuming someone found out, this is probably why she has been in jail for at least 12 years.

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