Some inmates are just more squad-worthy than others, and when you’re in prison, you need all the friends you can get. These Litchfield inmates are the one you want to buddy-up with on the first day of your stretch.
13. Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales played by Jackie Cruz
At first glance, Flaca doesn’t come across as the smartest gal in Litchfield, but you can’t hold that against her. It seems like it would be fairly easy to get along with her, plus she’s Maritza’s better half (platonic, mostly, save an awkward Valentine’s Day make-out session) so if you’re good with Flaca, you’re good with Maritza. Plus, she has great taste in music.
12. Lolly Whitehill played by Lori Petty
While Lolly’s auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions of persecution are tough to break through, she’s a nice and considerate inmate when she’s lucid. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like taking her medication due to side effects so we often see her struggling. She’s not a bad person – actually, she’s the complete opposite – Lolly just struggles with mental health.
11. Erica “Yoga” Jones played by Constance Shulman
While she can get preachy at times (which keeps her from a higher ranking), Yoga Jones’ zen demeanor is as calming as it is impressive, especially after finding out how she ended up at Litchfield. The tragedy of the 8-year-old boy she killed is heartbreaking, and her story of drug addiction is a true cautionary tale, but her past has made her a better person. Now she teaches yoga to the other inmates, offering an important and therapeutic service. Everyone loves Yoga.
10. Mei Chang played by Lori Tan Chinn
Chang can be a little short with the others at times, but in terms of likeable inmates, she has it all. She’s neat, she keeps to herself, and when she does talk, she always steals the scene. What’s funnier is that she doesn’t even know she’s hilarious, she just is.
9. Jane “Sister Jane” Ingalls played by Beth Fowler
She can be a bit of a social justice warrior at times, but that’s the extent of Sister Jane’s faults. She’s overcome her own bout with celebrity when she was a protesting nun on the outside, and now she seems like she has a good heart again. Plus, her participation in the hunger strike shows how deeply committed she is to change, and her past conversations with Red emphasize the humanity that make her an even more compelling character.
8. Gloria Mendoza played by Selenis Leyva
Mendoza’s not the warmest inmate in Litchfield, but she’s the most maternal person there and with all the other inmates in need of a mother figure, she deserves the high ranking. When Aleida quickly establishes her lack of interest in being a mother to Daya, Gloria talks sense into her. Gloria’s backstory, which shows her abusive relationship, is also an important reminder that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Her ability to overcome that makes her story one of the most profound.
7. Rosa “Miss Rosa” Cisneros by Barbara Rosenblat
Miss Rosa! She was as sweet as she was a bad ass. She was already a sympathetic character in the first season, but her honest, grounded approach to her cancer treatment and her mortality make her one of the most likable characters on the series. Her friendship with a fellow chemo patient truly elevated her to OITNB greatness. Her dramatic escape from Litchfield was a thrilling and deserving conclusion to her story.
6. Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks)
Taystee is one of the few Litchfield inmates that probably shouldn’t be locked up. Sure, she got in some trouble, but you do to the source of her troubles, it all goes back to Vee (OITNB’s least likeable inmates). It’s amazing that she still managed to thrive as a smart, funny, and self-sufficient woman – she’s never lost that friendly, likeable spirit that prison can take away.
5. Galina “Red” Reznikov played by Kate Mulgrew
You don’t get many chances with Red. Ask Piper who was served a bloody tampon upon her arrival to Litchfield. But that’s the thing with Red, you have to prove your loyalty to her before she takes you in. She’s been dealt a rough hand and has worked hard to establish herself at Litchfield. And while she can definitely be harsh, she cares deeply about Nicky and the other inmates she has taken in. She’s a good friend to have in prison.
4. Sophia Burset played by Laverne Cox
When you’re a woman in a female prison, it’s good to be friends with the inmate in charge of the hair salon. In Litchfield, that inmate is Sophia Burset. She always has a kind, supportive word for her clients and fellow inmates, which says something for her character considering everything she’s been dealt with in life.
3. Lorna Morello played by Yael Stone
In Season 2, viewers learned that Morello was dangerously delusional, but she’s such a sweet, loving person, it almost didn’t matter. Sure, she committed lots of credit card fraud, and she drove Christopher crazy for a while, but, you can’t help but embrace her, flaws and all. And hey, at least she knows she’s a little crazy – the scary inmates are the ones who think they’re OK!
2. Nicolette “Nicky” Nichols by Natasha Lyonne
Like Red, Nicky runs a little hot. As a matter of fact, some would say she’s a little crude, but she’s also the funniest, and possible coolest inmate in Litchfield. She bags the cutest prisoners, she had the wittiest lines, and for the most part, she’s in charge of her demons. Overall, she’s fun, hypersexual, and yes, a bit of a mess, but she’s easily the inmate you’d most want to hang out with..
1. Poussey Washington played by Samira Wiley
Sure, Piper and Alex are kind of the two big women on campus at Litchfield, but they’ve also made lots of enemies along the way. On the other hand, Poussey is really the only inmate who has never caused conflict with the other inmates. She’s had her fair share of self-destructive habits, but her ability to emerge unscathed — with her friendship with Taystee even stronger – is as good as it gets when it comes to the ladies of OITNB.
All photos: Netflix