Within the last few years many docuseries have been appearing all over television. Most of them are made to capture the struggles the subject is dealing with and provide them with the opportunity to change their lives for the better. The participant (or subject) in any documentary or docuseries is brave in many senses; often, the subject has stopped being in denial of their problems and have reached out for help. Arguably, the most important aspect of these kinds of series is that the subject becomes an example and allows their experiences to act as teaching tools for others–especially those who are at risk or are struggling with the same issues the subject is. Some of the most popular docuseries that have aired within the last few years include A&E Network’s Beyond Scared Straight (2011), Intervention (2005- ) and Hoarders (2009- ) and TLC’s My Strange addiction (2010- ). Of course, while it’s difficult for any subject to share intimate details about their personal lives, there is one major difference between many docuseries and A&E’s upcoming 60 Days In. What is about this new series that makes it unique? Rather than being documented for weeks or days at a time like other docuseries often are, 60 Days In is filmed over a long span of 60 days without a break in filming; the cameras are rolling 24/7.
Accoring to A&E’s Head of Programming, Elaine Frontain Bryant, 60 Days In, created by Sheriff Jamey Noel, “is the perfect—[and one of the most emotionally and mentally draining]—example of A&E’s unique brand of disruptive non-fiction storytelling that takes viewers outside of their comfort zone.” The series follows seven participants who go undercover at the notorious Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, IN, in an effort to experience life in jail first-hand and to shed light on the realities of the correctional system and expose what really goes on behind bars.
These 60 days will be anything but easy for seven participants, as being an inmate in jail is an unknown territory to them. These participants—who have never been charged with a crime—will be living among real Clark County inmates and will have to abide by the rules of the staff. Being a first-time inmate learning to abide by the strict rules of the staff and cope with the fears they have of the–for lack of a better word–scary inmates for 60 consecutive days sounds terrifying enough. Believe it or not though, it gets worse for these subjects; the staff and inmates do not know that these seven first-time prisoners are undercover civilians participating in a program and not actually criminals. Therefore, there will be virtually no instances of the subjects being cut any slack. Fortunately, the seven participants will be provided training from Sheriff Noel and Captain and Public Information Officer, Scottie Maples to help prepare them for the experience. The seven people participating in the program include:
Barbara: a military wife and mother of two young children. This former teenage mom, who has struggled to make ends meet, truly believes she can relate to some of the women inside.
Jeff: a longtime security worker who has seen everything from domestic disputes to counterfeits to assaults. He has encountered, detained, and cuffed hundreds of criminals while waiting for the police to arrive.
Maryum: a social worker in gang prevention with 15 years experience in delinquency prevention and youth development. She has worked in many capacities of the field; from having direct practice experience with over 300 families to working in the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development.
Robert: a schoolteacher who wants to use this experience to show his students the consequences of their choices so they do not end up behind bars.
Tami: a police officer passionate about making the community around her safer.
Zac: an aspiring law enforcement officer who wants to use the experience to prepare him for his future career by gaining a unique education in criminal psychology and the jail system.
Isaiah: a former troublemaker when he was a teen whose reason for participating in the program is a very personal one. After his older brother was locked up five years ago, Isaiah felt as though part of him was ripped away. Isaiah wants to walk in his brother’s shoes and see what life is like beyond what he hears during phone calls with his brother. Ultimately, he wants to prove to the world that he is a stronger and more disciplined man than most people believe him to be.
It was announced on Tuesday that A&E has already renewed 60 Days In for a second season, even though the series premiere has not even aired yet. Season 2 will follow eight new participants and premiere later this year. Clearly, the show is predicted to be a big hit with viewers.
60 Days In’s 2-hour premiere will air on Thursday, March 10, at 9pm ET on A&E. Episodes will air each consecutive Thursday.