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

  • Arisa Cox breaks down this week's chaotic Big Brother Canada

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Miss a week, miss a lot! Chaos reigned supreme in the Big Brother Canada house since Dallas was evicted last Thursday. On Wednesday airing at 9 p.m. airing on Global, current nominees Cassandra and Jackie and Head of Household Neda will fight for the power of veto. Source
  • Drake cancels concert after bad sushi

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A bad case of food poisoning reportedly sent Drake to the hospital on Monday after having to cancel his concert in the Netherlands at late notice. The Jumpman hitmaker had been due to perform for fans in Amsterdam on Monday night, but the show, which had already been rescheduled twice, was abruptly called off moments before he was set to hit the stage. Source
  • Thieves steal $150K worth of antique jewelry from Emmy Rossum [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Emmy Rossum has become the latest celebrity burglary victim after thieves ransacked her Los Angeles home while she was working in New York. The Mystic River star’s housekeeper discovered the break-in and two empty safes when she turned up to clean the property in West Los Angeles on Friday. Source
  • Bill Cosby's lawyers ask to exclude testimony on other women, pills

    Entertainment CBC News
    Bill Cosby's lawyers don't want jurors at his suburban Philadelphia sexual-assault trial to hear he gave women quaaludes, money or educational funds. The defense says in court papers filed Tuesday that Cosby's deposition testimony about those topics would prejudice the jury. Source
  • Rihanna's Marion Crane finally has her shower scene on 'Bates Motel'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rihanna stunned U.S. fans of TV drama Bates Motel on Monday night by serving up a classic twist on the Psycho story. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 adaptation of Robert Bloch’s thriller, twisted Norman Bates kills the object of his affection, Marion Crane, in the most famous movie shower scene. Source
  • Ken Burns making documentary film on Muhammad Ali

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The late Muhammad Ali is getting the Ken Burns treatment. The PBS documentarian announced Tuesday that he and two partners will make a two-part, four-hour film about the former heavyweight champ, who died last June. Source
  • Reality TV show 'Eden' leaves contestants in the wilderness for a year -- but no one was watching

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A reality show no one’s watching? That’s called real life. And for the contestants of Eden – a reality show that aired, albeit briefly, on the U.K.’s Channel 4 – that’s exactly what happened. A year ago, producers dropped 23 strangers into a remote area of Scotland to build a self-sufficient community away from technology. Source
  • Rob Stewart's family files lawsuit after filmmaker’s dive death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    MIAMI — The family of a Canadian filmmaker and conservationist who died during a shark filming excursion in the Florida Keys has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the death of 37-year-old Rob Stewart blames negligence on the companies and individuals who organized the January dive. Source
  • Spider-Man’s Venom spinoff to be rated R

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Back in the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man days – remember those? – Sony had plans for villain spinoffs focusing on the Sinister Six and Venom. Now that the web crawler is back within Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (Spider-Man: Homecoming is due out this summer), we thought those dreams were scrapped. Source
  • Drake enrages Dutch fans by cancelling concert for third time

    Entertainment CTV News
    Dutch fans of Drake shouted obscenities and exhibited crude gestures aimed at the hip hop star after he cancelled a concert in Amsterdam for the third time in three months. Numerous videos uploaded to social media on Thursday evening show the large crowd inside the Zippo Dome react in anger in the moments after a woman came on stage to share the bad news. Source