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ITV announces new series - Life Inside Lockdown

Published: Mon 22 Feb 2016

ITV announces new series - Life Inside Lockdown 
 
Life inside one of New York State’s largest jails is revealed in a brand new series for ITV.
 
Producers Voltage TV secured unprecedented access to a jail in upstate New York that has more than 1,000 inmates, to capture a unique and unflinching insight into the frontline of the US justice system in practice for those on both sides of the bars.
 
In the USA, before suspects are convicted of any crime, they are sent to one of the nation’s 3,000 county jails. The average stay is 42 days, but serious offenders can spend over a year behind bars awaiting trial. A defining feature of the county jail’s holding system is that all types of suspected offenders are housed together, meaning petty thieves are under the same roof as hardened gangsters, drug addicts and multiple murderers while they wait for their cases to go to court. 
 
Across its 2x60 episodes, Life Inside Lockdown captures the tough conditions at the facility and how both inmates and prison staff deal with the challenges of coping in a highly-pressurised and intimidating atmosphere with little privacy and the ever-present menace of gang rivalries.
 
Beyond the barbed wire fences and maximum security of the jail itself, Voltage TV has been granted the same unprecedented access to the city’s County Court, following inmates as they progress through the American justice system. 
 
The series will provide an insight into the nature of criminality in the area surrounding the jail.  From homeless people committing petty crime to guarantee a bed and meals, to violent gangsters and the multitudes whose crime relates to New York’s heroin epidemic, we will see how their daily life plays out in the cells, the kitchens, the yards, community work and even the feared SHU – the Special Housing Unit where inmates live in segregation and almost permanent cell lockdown.
 
Filmed over a six month period, with full access to the jail, officers and inmates, this new ITV series features extraordinary stories, taking viewers to the extremes of humanity as those who claim their innocence battle their way through the ordeal of jail and we witness how the loss of liberty affects their family and friends.  Plus, we see the prisons from the perspectives of the correctional officers who have watched inmates come in and out, first as teens and later as men. 
 
Life Inside Lockdown is series produced, filmed and directed by Lee Phillips, the double BAFTA winning filmmaker behind the high-rating ITV series ‘Her Majesty’s Prison: Aylesbury.’ 
 
The executive producer is Voltage founder, Sanjay Singhal. 
 
The series was commissioned for ITV by Andrew O’ Connell, Factual Commissioning Editor.
 
Andrew said: “This series offers viewers a compelling and revealing look at an otherwise closed world. The reality of life for those on the wrong side of the law today in the United States is laid bare.” 
 
Singhal said: “The access was hard to get but is revealing a picture of the American criminal justice system that I’ve never seen before.” 
 
Lee said: "I hope viewers will be drawn in to this extraordinarily intense world and be as captivated by these life-changing stories as I was whilst making it."