Jailbirds Reflection Assignment

In the Netflix series “Jailbirds”, many things that happen in the prison including the fights, flirtation, toilet fishing, and toilet talk amongst the imprisoned women are really surprising. what surprised me the most was how the inmates were able to fish contrabands through the toilets. Despite the tight rules that jail officials had set, the inmates found a way to smuggle all sorts of things from drugs to letters; through a process they referred to as “fishing” Through the process of fishing, the inmates are able to communicate through letter (which they call kites) despite being in different places within the tower with eight floors. The items are flashed through the toilet with the aid of ripped undershirts which are tied together to make long lines, then attached to plastic spoons at the end. When ready, both the person on the top floor and one on the floor below flushes, and the attached plastic spoons on the ends of their lines get tangled; so, either of the inmates can pull the line to receive the item. Another thing that surprised me was the idea of clogging the toilet bowls to cause another floor to flood, as a form of revenge. In episode four, the inmates are able to cause toilets on other floors to overflow by using feces, urine, and food to clog their own toilets. On the other hand, that causes a challenge for the jail workers who’ve got to clean it up.

From the movie, I have learnt that being incarcerated isn’t a picnic, and the experience can be unnerving, confusing and downright demoralizing, but it’s something that many of us don’t really know about. Maybe we’ve only caught a glimpse of prison shows on TV before changing channels to watch something more entertaining. Maybe we’ve never been imprisoned personally or seen someone go through the ordeal firsthand, but it’s most likely that we don’t know any details about what goes on behind bars. From watching the movie, there is no doubt that being in jail for even a short time is difficult for almost everyone, but there are some who seem to be able to manage it better than others: some adapt to life in jail better than others, and some understand how it works long before they get there. For example, the inmates are forced to form squads which act as supportive groups meant to help each inmate adapt to living in prison. This is because a person’s social network is considered one of the most important factors that contributes to their success or failure in any prison environment. Some members who are in their squad are able to find ways around the rules and also act as mentors for all members of their squad. There were, however, other inmates who didn’t have this advantage, who were deprived of that support and were forced to go it alone with no close friends behind them, and it seemed like they had nothing going for them at all. They spent most of their time dealing with stress brought about by the continuous pressure from the guards and from other inmates, which often led to conflicts even among themselves.

Being in the facility as an inmate must be a very difficult and challenging situation. The characteristics portrayed by the inmates signify how prisoners can get lost in a life full of wrong choices, risks, and unfortunate circumstances. In order for these people to function again, it is necessary to make them understand what went wrong so that they can make better decisions about their lives. Once this understanding has been achieved, a person will change their environment so that it does not impact them negatively anymore or at least improve from what currently is happening.

Prison facilities should be improved. The US prison population has skyrocketed in recent years, leaving government agencies with a large number of inmates to house. However, prisons are not designed to house such a large number of individuals and tend to see regular overcrowding crises by the end of each year. To overcome these issues, lawmakers have proposed increasing funding for prisons and “transforming” how they are run. Some reforms that appear inevitable include using behavioral science techniques to reduce recidivism rates, improving facilities for inmate health, and conducting evaluations on specific programs or trends that may show up in the future (Boppre, 2019). By doing so, the conditions will be changed for the better; thus, will help reduce the mortality rates for prison inmates. In 2008, the former US president George Bush signed a bill into law that contained $2 billion for prison construction including building new facilities for health care services and drug treatment programs designed to reduce drug-related violence among inmates (Boppre, 2019). That greatly helped to improve the facilities, but the spending did not stop there (Boppre, 2019). Reforms to healthcare, recreation and education remained in place, therefore they will continue to be altered as more funds are released (Boppre, 2019).

Although that was a positive sign of progress for most states, it is important to note that only 25 states provide comprehensive health care for prisoners at all institutions (including long-term prisons). It is therefore essential to consider allocating sufficient funds to meet all the needs that require to be addressed to improve the facilities. By doing so, the correction facilities shall have healthy and safe environments in which imprisoned inmates would be able to attain correction, rather than have their lives endangered.


Boppre, B. (2019). Improving correctional strategies for women at the margins: Recommendations for an intersectionally-responsive approach. Corrections, 4(3), 195-221. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23774657.2019.1588807

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