British commercial broadcaster ITV has commissioned London-based production house Chalkboard TV to produce a series that will peel the curtain back on life within the walls of seven prisons throughout the UK.
Inside Prison: Britain Behind Bars (4 x 60 minutes) will provide a comprehensive view into men’s and women’s penitentiaries as seen through the eyes of trainee and veteran prison officers, as well as the prisoners they deal with on a daily basis.
The series will look to expose what life on the inside is like for those involved in the jail system by examining the daily challenges presented to staff in the midst of escalating levels of violence across the UK’s jails. It will additionally explore how officers manage to build and maintain relationships with inmates.
The seven prisons featured in the docuseries include such women’s facilities as 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.
Inside Prison: Britain Behind Bars is produced by Chalkboard’s Fiona Inskip and directed by Jamie Batten. It was ordered by ITV’s factual entertainment commissioning editor Satmohan Panesar and controller of factual Jo Clinton-Davis.
“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,” said Panesar, in a statement. “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.”
“The modern role of prison officer is a fascinating combination of security officer, confidante and mentor,” added Mike Benson, Chalkboard managing director and executive producer. “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.”