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Netflix Released 'Orange Is The New Black' Early and Raises Important Issues

We are completely addicted to 'Orange Is The New Black,' the hit series exclusively available on Netflix.

After we got over our initial excitement (sorry "hot new restaurants," we have new plans now), we couldn't stop thinking about the issue of motherhood on the show.

The topic appears throughout the series. One character gave birth during the first season, one is pregnant and others have children who visit them.

Which brings us to the issue of incarcerated mothers.

More than half of women in state and federal prisons in 2004 were mothers of children under 18. The likelihood of having a child is about the same between women and men. Incarcerated mothers in state prisons in 2004 were more likely than fathers to actually live with their children before their arrest, according to Quartz.

The statistics seem shocking, but they're real.

The motherhood stories portrayed in "Orange Is the New Black" might not have had a huge effect on policy makers so far, but the power of media can effect change. The show is still making an impact. The show serves to humanize imprisoned mothers and puts the discussion on the table.

Why is this important? The options for incarcerated pregnant women are very limited. If unable to pay the bond, mothers can be forced to stay in jail. The state can also decide to take custody of her child, with little the mother can do to change this.

So maybe the change needs to happen on screen before it happens in real life. We'll keep watching and working for policy change.

Image via Netflix/Quartz

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