ITV has commissioned Chalkboard TV to make a new landmark doc about life in Britain’s jails.
Chalkboard has secured “unique and unprecedented access” from HM Prison Service to numerous prisons up and down the UK.
Inside Prison: Britain Behind Bars (4 x 60) will be filmed in seven prisons spanning the men’s and women’s estates. The series will offer a “360 degree, unflinching look” at life behind bars – seen through the eyes of the prison officers, and the prisoners they deal with.
The series is commissioned for ITV by Satmohan Panesar, Factual Entertainment Commissioning Editor, and Jo Clinton-Davis, Controller of Factual. Inside Prison: Britain Behind Bars is series produced by Fiona Inskip and series directed by Jamie Batten.
The series goes into prisons including women’s prisons HMP Send and HMP Downview, category B prisons HMP Bullingdon and HMP Isle of Wight, Youth Offenders in HMP Deerbolt and HMP Portland and category C prison HMP Erlestoke.
It will examine the challenges presented to staff by escalating levels of violence across UK jails, and explore how officers, drawn from a broad range of backgrounds, ages and experiences, build and maintain relationships with prisoners from young offenders to vulnerable women.
Alongside the often surprising and sometimes shocking aspects of life behind bars, the series will reveal how new recruits are now joining the HM Prison Service to spearhead its efforts to foster a rehabilitative culture to help turn prisoners’ lives around and combat Britain’s £15bn reoffending problem.
Panesar said: “With the unrivalled scale of the access, we meet people on both sides of the bars with unbelievable stories that will simultaneously fascinate and frustrate. The extremes of life on the inside, from unexpected acts of compassion to seemingly mundane scenarios that can spark suddenly into violence, will be laid bare through the eyes of those working for the prison service and those detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.”
Chalkboard managing director and executive producer, Mike Benson, said: “The modern role of Prison Officer is a fascinating combination of security officer, confidante and mentor. With the remarkable range access of access we’ve been given we have a brilliant opportunity to explore this evolving role and take a comprehensive snapshot of the prison service.”
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