Is there anything nice the staff actually does for the inmates?
Thanks to the hiring of Taystee's friend Tamika Ward as warden (largely due to Linda Ferguson's desire to land a diversity grant, keep a low price-point, and sometimes touch Tamika's hair), yes, there is an effort made to improve Litchfield. Tamika takes a prison reform class taught by Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) and reinstates the GED program that was canceled in Season 1, and adds a few new ones, such as a restorative justice group and farm therapy (meant to offset closing the psych ward, but really just providing a lot of chicken jokes).
The restorative justice group is incredibly necessary, providing a way for inmates and prison staff both to confront those who've hurt them (say, during the riots) and apologize to those they've damaged in turn. But it becomes somewhat ironic that it is Caputo leading it when he becomes embroiled in a #MeToo case -- former guard Susan Fischer (Lauren Lapkus) comes forward about his sexual harassment of her during her employment at Litchfield. He awkwardly handles the accusation at first -- even going so far to confront her at her home, prompting a restraining order -- but then he learns to listen to what she has to say and resigns from his teaching position.
The GED class attracts eager students (such as Pennsatucky and Zirconia), but also a few disruptive drug dealers (Daya and her crew), who try to get the teacher to smuggle in drugs for them. The qualified teacher, who had been making progress with the inmates by identifying Pennsatucky's dyslexia, is intimidated and quits, leading to a tragic series of events: the request to accommodate Pennsatucky's learning disability with extra time on the GED test is mishandled, she believes she failed the test and seeks out the drug dealers afterwards, and takes a fatal dose of heroin. The kicker is that it turns out she passed, probably because Taystee helped tutor her.
Taystee's efforts to help others come only after she tries to hang herself, and then considers taking the same way out that Pennsatucky did. Faced with a life sentence for a murder she didn't commit, Taystee struggles to find a reason to keep on living. During her despair, she starts working as the warden's assistant again, helping out her old friend, but with the goal to get the key to the contraband closet to trade for drugs. For a brief window, she hopes that she might be able to overturn her sentence -- Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) gets some clarity about what she witnessed with Piscatella and writes it all down. They just need a released Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) to corroborate it, but Taystee accidentally ruins that opportunity. Remember how Cindy's "sister" was actually her daughter? In a moment of bitter retaliation, Taystee reveals that family secret to her, and that letter causes a lot of family turmoil -- so much that Cindy moves out, so Cindy's family and Taystee's lawyer can't locate her when they realize they need her to recant. (Cindy, her mother, and her daughter later reunite.)
Taystee has to learn to accept that she can't change her circumstances, but she can find a new purpose in life. In Poussey's honor, and with the help of former celeb inmate and bestselling tell-all author Judy King (Blair Brown), Taystee starts a fund to give micro-loans to ex-felons to prepare them for life on the outside, and begins teaching financial literacy, with Suzanne acting as her teacher's aide. (In real life -- because yes, the fund actually exists -- it supports prison reform.)