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OITNB Season 4 tackles privatization — but what the heck is that?

Jenn Morson is a freelance writer living with her family outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

Here's what you need to know about OITNB's political debate in Season 4

Orange Is the New Black never shies away from controversial topics, and Season 4 will be no different. In the newly released trailer for Netflix's hit show at TVLine, the evidence of Litchfield Penitentiary going from government-run to a for-profit prison is shown, with mixed results. During this election season, OITNB is shining a light on one of the most widely debated issues: privatization of prisons.

More: OITNB: 15 hints from the cast about what's to come in Season 4

So what is a private prison, anyway? Simply put, private prisons are run not by the government itself, but by third-party agencies contracted by the government. Those in favor of private prisons argue that less government involvement means less need to wait out financial approvals because private companies can just pay for any building costs without needing legislative approval. The costs are kept much lower and any goals can be accomplished faster.

On OITNB, the inmates look thrilled to have new beds and freshly painted walls that have been provided by the private contractors that now run Litchfield. When it was being run by the government, Caputo could hardly keep the lights on.

More: Laura Prepon may have just spoiled OITNB Season 4 in a huge way

On the other hand, not all of the news is good news in Litchfield. Inmates are now being crowded into their bunks and new guards have joined the staff. Since private prisons are a for-profit effort as opposed to a government-run program, whatever saves money takes priority over any other concerns. Opponents of privatized prisons believe that the for-profit goals make it impossible to ethically run the facility. Making money is in direct conflict to the interest of prisoner well-being. After all, without prisoners, there is no money to make.

More: 7 reasons renewing OITNB for three more seasons is premature

OITNB seems to come down on the side of opposition to private prisons, if scenes of Taystee in the hospital, Piper expressing feelings of danger, as well as highlights of a new, gargantuan prison guard are to be believed. Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black looks to be every bit as exciting as the first three seasons and I can't wait to binge-watch it.

Orange Is the New Black airs new episodes starting June 17 on Netflix.

Do you think OITNB has something to teach us about privatized prisons?

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

Here's what you need to know about OITNB's political debate in Season 4

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