Reality Show Helps Fight Corruption in County Jail
- By Sydny Shepard
- Mar 11, 2016
If you were asked to spend the night in jail even though you weren’t charged with a crime, would you?
That’s precisely what seven innocent people are doing on A&E Network’s upcoming docu-series. The show follows seven innocent participants who enter Clark County Jail in Jefferson, Indiana, in an “effort to expose internal issues and what really happens behind bars,” according to a press release.
The idea was that of Sheriff Jamey Noel, who was interested in knowing more about the facility he presided over. He devised a program where seven participants would live among the facility’s general population for 60 days without officers, fellow inmates, or staff knowing their true identity. Around-the-clock cameras captured the inmate’s unparalleled access into the inner workings of the jail.
“After recently taking office, it was no secret that the Clark County Jail had problems and we needed to take quick control,” Noel said in the release. “The only way to truly understand what was going on in the jail was to implement innocent participants into the system to provide first-hand unbiased intelligence. These brace volunteers helped us identify critical issues within our system that undercover officers would not have been able to find.”
The participants were able to point out systematic problems, as well as provide Noel with key details about the social dynamics that inmates live their daily lives by. The volunteers were also able to confirm something that Noel had believed to be true all along: some inmates had been purposefully arrested because drugs were cheaper in jail than on the street.
According to A&E Network, multiple correction officers were fired as a result of events witnessed by participants. Also, the show has led to at least one arrest. Using information gained from the undercover program, investigators were able to arrest a woman who tried to smuggle drugs into the jail.
A&E paid the jail $60,000 to make the series; a sum that Noel says will go toward proper guard training, an updated camera system, and a body scanner for the jail.
Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.