February 10, 2016 / 8:14 PM / 3 years ago

Innocent people live undercover in U.S. jail for TV documentary

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven innocent people spent 60 days inside an Indiana jail for a TV show aimed at exposing corruption and showing what really happens behind bars.

Documentary series “60 Days In” will begin airing on the A&E channel in March, the network said on Wednesday.

The seven men and women volunteers, ranging from a social worker trying to end gang violence to a military wife who feels prisoners have it easy behind bars, lived among inmates at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana last year.

None of the jail inmates nor staff were aware they were posing as criminals or taking part in a television show.

The program was devised by Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, who was appointed in January 2015, in a bid to root out corruption at the jail. The volunteers were followed by hundreds of cameras planted throughout the jail, which houses about 500 inmates charged with crimes ranging from drug dealing to murder.

“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,” Noel said in a statement.

“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,” Noel added.

The seven participants had never been charged with a crime nor spent time behind bars. They took part for a variety of motives ranging from wanting to get a better understanding of the system to preparing for a career in law enforcement, the documentary producers said.

The 12-episode series will start rolling out on A&E on March 10.

Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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