Welcome to the first recap of A&E’s 60 Days In (Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT), a.k.a. So You Think You Can Survive Two Months In Prison.
To be clear, I am not watching and recapping 60 Days In because I care about prison reform or the rights of the incarcerated. Nor am I pursuing a technical college evening degree program in Correctional Science or any of that. On the list of things that I worry about on a daily basis, prison conditions are 36,447th. No, I’m 100 percent in this thing for making wise-ass commentary (perhaps you are familiar with my work?) about reality show participants who chose to go to county jail for two months in exchange for money and/or A&E Reality TV Fame. Those of you who take any of this too seriously will be cast for the spinoff 60 Days In a Days Inn. You’ve been warned.
The Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Ind., is home to 500 inmates. Here are some of them:
Lovely people, all.
There is one good thing about being in Clark County, and that is drugs are cheaper to get inside prison than on the outside. Corruption is rampant among the corrections officers, and Sheriff Jamey Noel wants to clean house and find out where the drugs are coming from. The best way to do that, obviously, is to get several of law-abiding citizens from a range of ethnicities to infiltrate the prison’s general population and have them filmed under the auspices of a documentary about first-time inmates. “What I need are ordinary people that have never committed a crime to live in my facility for two months,” Noel says. Noel seems to have brokered this deal with the 60 Days In producers as a way to get a big upgrade of the CCJ’s surveillance system, with 300 cameras capturing all the action throughout the prison.
So, let’s meet a few of our lucky contestants.
Zac is a Marine reservist from Tennessee. He’s done tours in the Middle East as a combat engineer clearing roads of IEDs. He wants to be a DEA agent, and thinks this prison gig will help toward that. Out of the seven, Zac’s probably the most capable of handling prison life. I am particularly intrigued by his wife, Ashleigh, and what she does while Zac’s deployed in Iraq or volunteering to be in prison.
She kinda makes me want to stand up for Second Amendment rights.
Next up to bat is Maryum Ali, the eldest daughter of Muhammad Ali and a social worker who has done gang prevention work.
Barbra, 25, is a military wife and a stay-at-home mom of two. She wants to know if prison inmates have a higher standard of living and quality of life than her hard-working husband. I don’t know how well Barbra will be able to keep up the charade, unless her story is that she got jail time for selling homemade baked goods at a church fundraiser.
Tami, 46, has been a police officer for 20 years. She had a rough childhood, but has settled down with her wife and cute daughter who looks like she just came back from starring in an off-Broadway production of Annie.
Isaiah, 19, grew up in the hood. He wants to know what kind of life his brothers have had behind bars.
Jeff, 33, works in private security. He is a mall cop aspiring to be a corrections officer. He will most miss “pooping in private.” He also likes smiling.
Jeff has dinner with with some family members, including this woman who might be his grandma. She’s a tough old bird who looks like she might’ve done some hard time herself back in ’64. Jeff tells his folks that he’s going away for a while, but can’t say where. Maw Maw here says that she will personally kick the ass of anyone who messes with her dear sweet Jeffy.
Finally, we get to Robert, the reason why we all haven’t turned this show off yet. Robert, 45, is a teacher and mentor from Pennsylvania. “There’s not one concern I can make it several months in jail without any problem,” Robert says. “I think it’s going to be like a country club environment. Make new friends, watch TV, eat good food, prop my feet up and stretch my toes.” Now, someone who says this should not be teaching or mentoring anyone. He is an ass. In fact, he’s such an exaggerated ass that I suspect he’s an actor planted in this group to be both the villain and the comic relief. “I really like to use soft-bristled toothbrushes,” Robert says out loud during the training session. “Will I be able to bring in my own, or will they have some provided?”
Here’s where Tami gives the “Get a Load of This F***ing Guy” look:
What’s Robert going to miss the most while in prison? His blender. He loves himself some smoothies.
“I really believe I’m going to make some new friends in here,” Robert says of prison.
“I get the feeling that he’s in for an awakening more than he realizes,” Zac says of Robert.
Indeed. And we look forward to every moment of it.