Claudette Pelage (known as Miss Claudette) was an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary. First formally introduced when Chapman is assigned a bunk, Miss Claudette was an elderly Haitian woman who was strict with rules and the appearance of her cubicle. She is based off of Natalie in the memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison.
Miss Claudette was sold into the US child labor trade as a child. As an adult, she ran a similar operation to the one she was sold to. The exact details of the crime that landed her in prison are unknown, though the flashbacks dealing with her history show her leaving the home of a client she murdered after discovering he had beaten one of the girls who worked for her; it is unlikely this was the crime for which she was convicted and sent to prison. When Claudette met with Mr. Healy in Episode 4, he told her that her case could be re-opened due to some changes in immigration laws, and that re-opening the case stood to shave a lot of time off of her sentence. It is likely, given the contents of this discussion, that Miss Claudette was actually incarcerated due to the immigrant child-labor cleaning operation she ran. Also, later in the episode, Nicky said to Piper, "Miss Claudette was into some kind of slave trade shit. All that murder talk is rumor, if you ask me, bullshit. So, unless you're worried she's going to harbor you illegally, I wouldn't sweat it." The murder of the abusive client may not have ever been tied to her due to her impeccable cleaning abilities and attention to detail. It was also revealed by Baptiste's fiancée that Claudette cannot have children. During "Fool Me Once", it's discovered that her court appeal didn't work, and in a fit of rage, she attacked the CO Fischer, which sent her to Maximum Security.
She is strict, tidy, and keeps to herself. She wants nothing to do with "drama" among the other inmates. As her friendship with Piper Chapman grows stronger, she shows a kinder and more motherly side. When Larry Bloom does his radio show talking about all the people Piper has met at Litchfield, Claudette is hurt by the things he says, and returns to being cold and reclusive.
Claudette is an older woman in comparison to the other characters on the show. She has gray curly hair. She wears violet-red lipstick and has well groomed eyebrows. She also appears very stern.
Behind the scenesEdit
Claudette Pelage was portrayed by Michelle Hurst in twelve episodes of Season One, but did not reprise her role in Season Two. In season one, Miss Claudette finds out her case is eligible for re-examination and goes to trial, however, sadly, her plea is rejected. She is livid and consequently assaults a guard and in turn gets transferred.