Former Rikers detainee discusses similarities to ‘Orange Is the New Black’

Rayya Elias, LA Times contributing writer and self-proclaimed former “bottomed-out junkie,” unveils a ‘ring of truth’ to events portrayed in the hit Netflix prison comedy/drama, ‘Orange Is the New Black.’

In and out of correctional facilities for a substantial chunk of her younger years, including a short stint at Rikers Island, Elias outlines her experiences in a memoir entitled, “Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk from the Middle East to the Lower East Side.”

While Elias records the mounting differences between her experience and that of Piper Kerman’s, author and inspiration behind the book-turned-smash-hit, the similarities, she cannot deny, took her back to her own “arrival at Rikers.”

The article details those several similarities. Including the power-hungry corrections officers, coveted kitchen positions, and the degrading and hard to forget strip searches.

Elias offers a poignant snapshot of experiences and takes the reader through her journey to recovery in this account.


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