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

  • Celebrities join march for women's rights, encourage voting

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Demonstrators from Los Angeles to New York marched in support of female empowerment and denounced U.S. President Donald Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights and women's rights on Saturday, the anniversary of his inauguration. Source
  • Ed Sheeran announces engagement

    Entertainment CTV News
    Ed Sheeran has become engaged to his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, the British singer-songwriter announced Saturday. "Got myself a fiance just before new year. We are very happy and in love, and our cats are chuffed as well," he told his 18 million followers on Instagram. Source
  • Paul Bocuse, globe-trotting master of French cuisine, dies

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARIS -- Paul Bocuse, the master chef who defined French cuisine for nearly half a century and put it on tables around the world, a man who raised the profile of top chefs from invisible kitchen artists to international celebrities, has died at 91, French officials announced. Source
  • Is Woody Allen finished? Industry watchers, former fans raise question in wake of renewed allegations

    Entertainment CBC News
    Woody Allen may have never had to face sexual abuse allegations from his daughter Dylan Farrow in court, but in the increasingly important court of public opinion, he seems to be losing. This week, in her first televised interview, Dylan Farrow renewed her allegations of sexual assault by Allen, her adoptive father, when she was seven. Source
  • Prosecutors hope these 19 women can help convict Bill Cosby

    Entertainment CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Prosecutors this week asked the judge in Bill Cosby's spring retrial to let jurors hear from 19 other women who say the entertainer drugged and molested them. They want to show that an alleged assault in 2004 that led to Cosby's only criminal charges was part of a five-decade pattern of drugging and harming women. Source
  • 'Call Me By Your Name,' 'Lady Bird' land GLAAD nominations

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Five feature films including "The Shape of Water" and "Call Me By Your Name" have been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards, one year after it found only two films to honour for gay-inclusive story lines and characters. Source
  • Kim and Kanye choose Chicago for their new baby's name

    Entertainment CTV News
    It's Chicago -- where Kanye West was raised -- as the name of baby No. 3 with Kim Kardashian West. Mom made the announcement Friday on her app without explanation. Chicago was born Monday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Source
  • Producers Guild unveils anti-sexual harassment guidelines

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Producers Guild of America has ratified guidelines for combating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, requesting that every film and TV production offer in-person harassment training and provide multiple ways for alleged victims to complain. Source
  • W5's intimate interview with Kiefer Sutherland about life, acting and music

    Entertainment CTV News
    There is a fake U.S. president in a fake Oval office, who understands the Canadian psyche. He goes by the name Tom Kirkman. Once a low level secretary, Kirkman was catapulted into the role of Commander-in-chief after a terrorist attack. Source
  • Montreal filmmaker at Sundance explores plight of tiny nation Kiribati

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARK CITY, Utah - Montreal's Matthieu Rytz hopes his first film, "Anote's Ark," will put the plight of the tiny Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati on the world's radar. The documentary premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival and focuses on a country that many do not know exists -- and might not for much longer. Source