Civilians spend time behind bars for new reality TV show

NEW YORK — Seven innocent civilians agreed to spend two months in an Indiana jail and have their experiences filmed for an A&E Network series, "60 Days In," that will air starting next month.

See Full Article

Backgrounds of the fake inmates, whose jail time ended in December, were kept from both corrections officers and real inmates at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Even though one of the participants dropped out after being punched by an inmate, the show's producer and Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said Wednesday that the stunt was worth the risk.

"We wanted to create a show that really shows what it is like to do time, from a perspective that hadn't been seen before," said Gregory Henry, executive producer for the Lucky 8 TV production company.

The 12-episode series begins 9 p.m. EST Thursday, March 10, with two back-to-back episodes, then moves to 10 p.m. EST starting March 17.

The civilians all had their reasons for participating. One woman was a social worker hoping to put an end to gang violence, one was an ex-Marine who thought the experience would help him become a DEA agent, one was a teacher who wanted to tell students where bad choices can lead them, and one young man wanted to get a sense of what his jailed brother was going through.

Hundreds of cameras followed them. Inmates and guards were told producers were filming a series about the experiences of first-time prisoners, leaving out the detail that they weren't real prisoners.

"The whole program was kind of hidden in plain sight," Henry said.

Participants received counseling and training in advance and were watched constantly. They had a safe phrase — "I really miss the coffee" — and a visual cue of putting a towel on their heads that signaled to producers that they wanted to be removed from a potentially dangerous situation.

"I've never been able to see the moment when the slammer door shuts and someone is standing alone in a pod realizing what they had gotten themselves into," Henry said. "It was very real for everybody."

Noel, who took office last year, said he was trying to clean up a 500-inmate jail where drugs seemed more available than they were on the streets. He considered bringing undercover police officers into the facility to provide intelligence of what was really going on but couldn't get anyone to commit to a stay beyond two or three days.

The fake inmates helped provide a mother lode of information that Noel and his colleagues said they're still sifting through, like how contraband weapons were made. Shortly after they got in, new inmates were told by longtime inmates that they wouldn't be permitted to use the bathroom safely unless they paid some sort of bribe.

"We learned stuff that the most experienced corrections officer we had never knew was going on," Noel said.

To him, that made the program worth the risk of the bad publicity that could have resulted if something went terribly wrong for one of the inmate impersonators.

"Normal people that have never gotten in trouble before are going to be blown away by what goes on in a jail," he said. "I hope it is a real deterrent for them."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Bahamas expresses its disappointment after Fyre Fest fiasco

    Entertainment CTV News
    In this day and age, the young and beautiful live and die on social media. In the case of the ill-fated Fyre Festival -- a multiday music, art and culture party that promised "an invitation to let loose and unplug with the likeminded" on the Bahamian island of Exuma -- it's been a sudden and ugly death, chronicled in real-time on YouTube and filtered through Facebook. Source
  • Hacker uploads 'Orange Is the New Black' season 5 to torrent site: Report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAN FRANCISCO — A hacker who claimed to have stolen the upcoming season of Netflix’s hit series Orange Is The New Black, and demanded a a ransom from the streaming service, has posted it online, according to MassLive.com. Source
  • Tom Hanks turns fanboy in breezy chat with Bruce Springsteen

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks paid tribute Friday night to the late director Jonathan Demme, the man who brought them together on his film "Philadelphia," which won each of them Oscars. "God bless Jonathan Demme, we just lost him," Hanks told the crowd attending an event that was part of the Tribeca Film Festival's Storyteller series. Source
  • Dionne Warwick biopic in the works

    Entertainment CTV News
    The feature film — which is said to include interview cameos from the likes of Bill Clinton, Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, Clive Davis, Gladys Knight, Cissy Houston and Smokey Robinson — aims to chronicle Warwick's meteoric rise from New Jersey gospel choirs to international cross-over superstardom, and give viewers a "glimpse into the life of one of the most famous, yet notoriously private, superstars of the last 60 years", according to a statement (via Variety). Source
  • Ciara, Russell Wilson welcome baby girl

    Entertainment CTV News
    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his popstar wife Ciara are now parents to a baby girl, Sienna Princess Wilson. The couple announced the birth of their daughter on Friday night while the NFL draft was taking place. Source
  • Fall Out Boy announces new album and tour

    Entertainment CTV News
    U.S. rock band Fall Out Boy has announced it has a new album on the way and has shared its first single, "Young and Menace." "Mania" -- "styled "M A N I A" -- will be the seventh studio album from the band, which was founded by bassist Pete Wentz and guitarist Joe Strohman and also features lead singer Patrick Stump and drummer Andy Hurley. Source
  • Focus back on journalism at Trump-less White House correspondents dinner

    Entertainment CTV News
    Will Smith and George Clooney, step aside for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. It's safe to say that the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner -- traditionally the most glittery night on the Washington social calendar, where A-list celebrities sprinkle their stardust as coveted guests of media organizations -- will have a different vibe this year. Source
  • In Trump's absence, 'nerd prom' challenged by Bee's bash

    Entertainment CTV News
    Washington's once-glitzy "nerd prom" is about to get overshadowed. Late-night TV star Samantha Bee was pulling in celebrities for the first "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" on Saturday -- a tongue-in-cheek play on the real bash, where journalists, the president and, in recent years, lots of bold-face names have mingled. Source
  • 'Roseanne' revival planned

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A popular sitcom from the 1990s is set to return with members of its original cast. According to Deadline, a revival of Roseanne is in the works with focal members of the original cast – including Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Sara Gilbert – signed on to reprise their roles. Source
  • Making new album an emotional rollercoaster for Mary J. Blige

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Mary J. Blige may be spitting fireball lyrics about her soon-to-be ex-husband on her new album, but the songs didn't start from a place of anger and hate. It began with hope. Source