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A&E jails innocent people to help a sheriff: this week in ludicrous reality TV

A&E jails innocent people to help a sheriff: this week in ludicrous reality TV
An illustration of an innocent prisoner seeing all the money A&E is going to make off of his incarceration. (Illustration by Shutterstock)

A&E, home of the show Fit to Fat to Fit, where a personal trainer gains lots of weight for no reason at all, announced today plans for a similarly ludicrous new unscripted series, 60 Days, which locks innocent people up in real jail for two months to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting jailed.

Otherwise, how would we know how much jail sucks? I mean, besides watching Lockup, which has been on the air for 15 years.

But this isn’t just a stupid idea for a reality series—no, this is a public service. You see, the sheriff just couldn’t know what was happening in his jail unless seven civilians went inside, and in its bid to become the next TLC and drop the bar even lower, A&E jumped on board.

A&E’s announcement says that these “seven innocent participants” will “enter the “dangerous world of incarceration at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in an effort to expose internal issues and what really happens behind bars.” Even better, this happens “without officers, fellow inmates, or staff knowing their secret.”

Oh, how fun! Producing this series is Lucky 8 TV, which cast for the show last summer but forgot to mention the whole we’re going to put you in jail for two months and no one will know you’re innocent part.

Here are the people who volunteered for this, apparently because they were done testing how hot the stove was by putting their hands on the burners:

“Maryum, a social worker fighting to put an end to gang violence.

Zac, a conservative ex-Marine hopes the experience will help him in his journey to becoming a DEA agent.

Tami, a police officer who has arrested hundreds of people wanted to better understand what life is like on the other side. After growing up in foster care, she could have easily wound up in jail like her brother so she wants to participate to gain a better perspective on how different their lives turned out.

Jeff, a security guard for many years is ready to take the next step in his career to become a corrections officer. He feels that this experience will help ready him for his next career move.

Isaiah feels like a part of him was ripped away when his older brother was locked up and wants to experience what his brother is going through.

Robert, a teacher wants to use this experience to teach his students about the ramifications of their choices.

Finally, Barbra, a military wife and mother of two young children feels that prisoners have it too easy behind bars and wants to live it first-hand.”

The press release frames this as the idea of newly elected sheriff Jamey Noel, who says in the release,

“After recently taking office, it was no secret that the Clark County Jail had problems and we needed to take quick control. 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 brave volunteers helped us identify critical issues within our system that undercover officers would not have been able to find. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the success of this inaugural program.”

Yes, the only way! I can think of no other.

I can also not imagine any other way to find out what’s happening in certain places except to have people experience it first-hand. So I expect A&E to soon announce plans for several spin-offs:

  • 60 Days: Litter Box, where non-cats have their toilets replaced by litter boxes for two months so they can experience what their cats experience.
  • 60 Days: Cargo, a show on which people are boxed up and shipped around to find empathy for the products they order from Amazon.
  • 60 Days: Coffin, where innocent people are put six feet under in a cemetery to see what’s like to be buried. Oh wait, A&E already did this. So maybe:
  • 60 Days: Morgue, where living people are killed to find out what it’s like to be dead.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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