Unscripted

Netflix orders prison docuseries from Emporium

Digital streaming giant Netflix has commissioned Emporium Productions to produce the exclusive access docuseries Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons. The 4 x 60-minute factual series chronicles ex-prisoner and investigative journalist Raphael ...
June 20, 2018

Digital streaming giant Netflix has commissioned Emporium Productions to produce the exclusive access docuseries Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons.

The 4 x 60-minute factual series chronicles ex-prisoner and investigative journalist Raphael Rowe (pictured) as he immerses himself in each prison for a week, sharing cells with inmates – including serial killers, drug lords, a witch killer and authoritarian prison governors – and experiencing their daily routines.

Traveling to Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine and Belize, Rowe also joins the guards to discover the new tactics being adopted to keep the peace in an increasingly volatile environment.

Rowe was previously wrongfully convicted of murder as part of the M25 Three in 1990. After 12 years in prison, Rowe’s conviction, alongside that of his two co-defendants, Michael George Davis and Randolph Egbert Johnson, was overturned in July 2000.

Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, which will be made available across the streaming service on July 6, marks Emporium’s first commission for Netflix.

Emporium’s Emma Read¬†and Gabe Solomon serve as executive producers, alongside Netflix’s Olivia LaRoche, who also commissioned the series.

“Going back inside to film this series¬†was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve made,” said Rowe in a statement. “Taking on the persona of a prisoner in order to immerse myself in the daily life and routine of convicted criminals and the conditions they are held in around the world was dangerous. The conditions in these prisons are so tough for very different reasons and the prisoners we spoke to offer an insight that is both captivating and chilling. This series blows away any preconceived ideas that prisons can be soft and why rehabilitation should be a priority for the international community.”

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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