This gripping A&E docu-series was full of tension and drama from the very first episode, when the seven frightened and nervous volunteers first entered their various assigned pods at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana, up to their final day of incarceration. The final episode, titled “Aftermath,” will bring all the 60 Days In participants, including the two who left early, together for the first time to discuss their personal experiences.
60 Days In is the brainchild of executive producer Greg Henry and Sheriff Jamey Noel. Due to the jail’s history of rampant drug use, crime, and corruption, Noel initially devised the 60 Days In program to have participants live among the facility’s general population for 60 days without officers, fellow inmates, or staff knowing about their secret agenda. This idea paid off in a big way for Noel, who received invaluable intel from the 60 Days In participants. As for A&E, Variety shared that the network quickly realized they were on to something special with 60 Days In.
“60 Days In is the perfect example of A&E’s unique brand of disruptive non-fiction storytelling that takes viewers outside of their comfort zone,” said A&E EVP and head of programming, Elaine Frontain Bryant. “As soon as footage from Season 1 began to come in, we knew we had something special and we immediately ordered a second season. We hope viewers will share our passion for this groundbreaking series.”
To repeat the program for another season of 60 Days In, the second set of participants were able to complete their time in the same facility before any of the prison staff or officers became aware of the program. This protected both the secrecy of the project and the safety of the 60 Days In participants. This was no easy feat, since the Clark County Correctional Jail houses around 500 prisoners. Inmates within the facility are serving time for everything from dealing drugs to capital murder. Once again, the second crop of 60 Days In volunteers were followed throughout their pods by hundreds of cameras set up throughout the jail.
Five of the original seven volunteers on the first season of 60 Days In were able to complete their time. BuzzFeed News shared that as each participant finished their part of the 60 Days In program, they were debriefed by Noel and Captain Scottie Maples. As fans of the show saw during the latest episode, titled “Exodus,” the intel they received was invaluable, and due to the urgent nature of one piece of information, there was an immediate raid to uncover dangerous contraband in the form of man-made shanks. Although that information was extremely important, changes are still being implemented due to information and suggestions given by other 60 Days In participants.
“Maryum had some of the most valuable information for the sheriff,” Henry said. “She said, ‘You’ve got Alcoholics Anonymous but 85% of those girls are users and all they are doing in your jail is detoxing — there are no programs tailored specifically to addicts of narcotics, so you need NA there.'”
Maryum Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammed Ali, went by Jazmin Brown while incarcerated to protect her identity. There was one tense moment for her in the women’s pod when a story came on that was talking about her father and she sat in stunned silence, hoping a photo of her wouldn’t appear on the screen. Her cover and the program as a whole could have been immediately compromised.
Apparently, Maryum wasn’t the only one who should have been concerned about blowing their cover while on 60 Days In. Barbra Williams is an actress, and Tami Ferraiuolo appeared in truTV’s Caught Red Handed, a show about shoplifters. Even though each one experienced their own difficulties as they tried to adapt to life in jail, all three of the women completed the program.
Tami figured out almost immediately that Barbara was part of the program, and after a rocky start they became friends. They never did realize that Maryum was also a participant, and there was some tension between Maryum and the other two women. Previews of the reunion episode show a heated exchange between them, which leads to Tami walking off the set.
Robert Holcomb is a teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He appeared in TLC’s reality show, Extreme Time Cheaters. Robert only lasted five weeks during his 60 Days In stint, he served only one week in the general population and after tampering with a camera, he was sent to solitary confinement where he seemed to flourish. When it was time to return to his pod, he insisted he was too ill to go back, and eventually was released from the 60 Days In program.
60 Days In participant Zac Holland is a former Marine, and is planning to pursue a career in law enforcement. According to Dig Planet, he appeared in Homicide Hunters as Silas Nelson. Of all the participants, he was the one who was able to fully integrate himself into the general population, and obtained some extremely important information.
Jeff Downs had a tough time and after being assaulted by another inmate, he left the 60 Days In program. Jeff and his wife, Emily, made an appearance on the BYUtv reality show Relative Race as contestants Heather and Bradley’s relatives. Jeff tells fourth cousin Heather that they have a common ancestor by the name of Isaac Bundy, and he goes on to reveal that another relative they share is none other than serial killer Ted Bundy.
Isaiah Jenkins is a recent high school graduate who wanted to experience what life was like for his brother, who has been incarcerated for five years. After a slow start on 60 Days In, he was eventually befriended and mentored by Zac, although neither of them knew the other one was part of the program. He seems to be the only one who hasn’t previously appeared on film or been in the public eye.
As for the second season participants of 60 Days In, it will be interesting to see how they fare within the cold, hard walls of their individual pods inside the Clark County jail. Hopefully, they are as successful as their predecessors on 60 Days In, and can continue to provide Noel and Maples with pertinent and timely information.
Do you think what these innocent volunteers went through was worth it? Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions below. The season finale of 60 Days In airs on Thursday, May 26 a 9 p.m. ET on the A&E channel.
[Image via 60 Days In on A&E/Facebook]