Prison is a tough place. Especially for someone trapped in there for years at a time surrounded by people who may or may not have done some pretty terrible things. Whether it's the extroverted prison leader, controlling the pack from the comfort of the kitchen they've worked hard to raise out of squalor, or the introverted newbie just trying to get their bearings and make it out alive. It takes all types of personalities to survive a dehumanizing experience like the prison-industrial complex. So let’s break down some of our favorite Orange Is The New Black characters to the Myers-Briggs® Personality types and try to figure out how they’ve survived so far. And how they plan to keep surviving.
7 Red: The Executive - ESTJ
From the first glance through the serving station at the prison cafeteria, it's easy to tell that Red is both in charge and keeping firmly with tradition. She’s spent enough time in the prison to know exactly how everything works; the guards, the inmates, the deliveries, and she’s even got a handle on most of the prisoners.
Red knows that in order to have power there must be order, and to gain order you must first gain respect. Well, money talks, kids. And so does some sweet, sweet, contraband. Red may have lost most of her family when she was thrown behind bars, but she’s managed to make a new one for herself and despite how she may act, she truly, deeply cares for their well-being.
6 Caputo: The Consul - ESFJ
Caputo was maybe the one guy in the entirety of the prison that was actually working to rehabilitate the women of the correctional facility. For Caputo, it’s all born out of an innate desire, or need, to help those around him. He understands that the women of the prison are more than just barcodes or free labor or orange jumpsuits; they’re women that genuinely need help despite what they may have done. For much of the series, Caputo’s main flaw in this aspect is that he’s so damned attached to playing the game by the rules, working from within the system to help improve. In the real world, however, the game’s rules are often written with the winners in mind. It’s only when Caputo begins working outside of the system that he begins to make some major headway for the women he was once charged with.
5 Gloria: The Executive - ESTJ
There’s probably a pretty good reason behind why Red and Gloria seem to always be at each other throats. Whatever it is, it has to has something to do with just how similar they are. They are both fierce lionesses baring their claws for the sake of those they’ve promised to protect.
They both understand enough about the prison and the systems that rule it to take advantage of them. And last, but not least, they both fought to take control of the kitchen because they understood how important it was to the economy of the prison. Now if the could just manage to get along.
4 Lorna Morello: The Campaigner - ENFP
Unlike Red, her prison mother figure, Lorna friendly with basically anyone that will listen to her talk. Lorna is passionate and lives almost entirely in the moment, which can be a very difficult thing to do when that moment-to-moment is still locked inside of a prison. Yet, somehow, even with that major buzzkill of an existence, Lorna finds so many ways to continue being happy and continue being herself. So whether she’s sneaking away with Nichols, getting married to her husband, or getting ready to have a baby, even prison can't get in the way of Lorna’s happiness. A lesson from which many people outside the walls of prisons could learn from.
3 Tastee Jefferson: The Consul - ESFJ
Tastee is kind, forgiving, compassionate, intelligent, and a civil rights activist when given the chance. She’s the kind of person that would be hanging out in the library regardless of whether or not she was in prison. Like many of the inmates wandering the corridors of the prison, Tastee is more than happy to ride out her prison sentence without causing any trouble for anyone, including the guards.
Almost every time we see Tastee on screen we see her trying to improve herself. Whether it’s through the programs available in the prison, reading done in and out of the library, or fighting for the rights of the inmates she shares the prison with, when Tastee is around, you can bet that the show is trying to show you its heart.
2 Piper Chapman: The Campaigner- ENFP
While her partner Alex can usually be found in some corner reading a book (or plotting), Piper is a much more hands-on type of personality. She needs to be right in the middle of almost everything and is rarely pleased unless she’s smack dab in the middle of everyone else’s drama. Chapman has a habit of making enemies and it usually begins because she just can’t help but open her mouth. She prefers to take on challenges as they come rather than kicking back and waiting to devise a plan before jumping in. But when it’s all said and done, maybe that’s exactly why Alex is such a good match for her.
1 Alex Vause: The Architect - INTJ
It takes a lot of know-how to run an international drug-running ring successfully. While Alex may have eventually been caught, for a long time, she made a lot of money doing something very very dangerous. One of the key differences between Piper and Alex can be illustrated by their initial reactions to being thrown in prison. Piper immediately fears for herself, panics, the walls close in and just like that she’s completely lost without a single idea of what to do next. Alex, on the other hand, is perfectly calm. She knows exactly what she’s going to do now that she’s behind bars because she’s already pictured the inevitability millions of times. Planned for the eventuality. Alex knows that nothing has changed really. The game plan is what it always has been. Survive.