The participants on this season’s 60 Days In: Atlanta were more than ready to finish their time in the Fulton County jail, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Nine people were originally chosen to be a part of the third season of 60 Days In, but one had second thoughts about participating and backed out at the last minute. To their credit, all but one of the program volunteers who entered the jail completed their 60 days and in a surprising twist, one of them was asked to stay for another 60 grueling days behind bars.
60 Days In posted to their Facebook page that, “Nate is going back in for another round.” Nate Burrell served in the United States Marine Corps and completed two combat tours in Iraq. After serving another three years in the Reserves, he was honorably discharged in 2013. He wanted to become a fish and wildlife officer, and a year after being discharged he received an associate degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. His skill set and demeanor allowed him to fit in with the inmates during his first 60 days, and in the process, he earned their respect and trust, which isn’t easy in a place like Fulton County.
Fulton County’s Chief Jailer, Colonel Mark Adger, recognized this and out of all the 60 Days In participants, only Nate was chosen and asked to continue. During the season finale of 60 Days In, there was another twist when viewers were introduced to a phase two participant, police officer Alan Thomas. He was having trouble fitting into the pod he was assigned to and made a bad first impression with Nate. If he doesn’t learn how to assimilate quickly, he could have a hard time on the next season of 60 Days In: Atlanta.
When Nate informed his girlfriend that he was going to stay with the 60 Days In program, she was not pleased with his decision. Both of them are making huge sacrifices, and this will definitely put more of a strain on their relationship. Fans of 60 Days In are keeping their fingers crossed that this extra 60-day stint isn’t something Nate will regret.
So what would cause someone like Nate, despite the dangers he may face, to want to experience what it’s like to be incarcerated? According to his bio on the A&E 60 Days In: Atlanta page, while he was in Iraq his older brother was arrested and was facing prison time again. He previously believed that the Criminal Justice System should take a harder stance on criminals in order to deter them from returning. He believed that prisons should operate more like the military and be less flexible concerning inmate liberties. After he spends 120 days confined, it will be interesting to see if his previous beliefs have changed.
Radio TV Talk shared that the male inmates have to stay in their cells with one other person 15 to 19 hours a day. Nate and the other 60 Days In participants faced a myriad of challenges as they watched their fellow inmates struggle with boredom, power struggles, fistfights and beat-downs, mental illness, and drugs. As if that weren’t enough, with all the cameras around the inmates were paranoid that there were “snitches” among them, and a few of the participants had to go the extra mile to prove they were inmates just like everyone else.
When Col. Adger took over operations in 2011, he faced an overwhelming situation with overcrowding, inmates sleeping on the floor, raw sewage flooding cells, and other major issues. With more funding, he was able to make several significant changes to the facility. As he seeks to make more sweeping changes, he believes that exposing Fulton County jail to public scrutiny will help drive even more changes and innovations in the future.
“This is way out there when it comes to risk taking. I’m getting toward the end of my career. I decided this would be the only way to perhaps shock us out of any complacency we had settled in. We have been staying out of the news in a negative way.”
As in the previous seasons of 60 Days In, the participants were able to provide him with plenty of vital feedback and although some of what they discovered was shocking, officials now know what areas need more work. Season 4 of 60 Days In: Atlanta will begin sometime this fall, and it will be interesting to see how the new batch of participants handle themselves at the facility. This is definitely no walk in the park, and all of them will have to watch every move they make.
Are you a fan of 60 Days In? Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions concerning 60 Days In below. 60 Days In: Atlanta will be airing a special episode titled “60 Days In: The Aftermath” on Thursday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET on the A&E Channel.
[Featured Image by A&E Channel]