Netflix has acquired the series, commissioning new episodes and making it a global original.
Netflix is going behind bars for its latest Original Documentary Series. They have ordered a new series of the show Inside The Word’s Toughest Prisons. Netflix acquired the earlier version of the show (currently streaming) which was originally commissioned for Viacom’s Channel 5 in the U.K. Netflix got in touch with Emporium Productions, the producers of the show, to work up new episodes for the Netflix audience.
Emporium Productions has a lot of experience with documentaries. A London-based company, they specialize in original factual programming. You may recognize a show they produce for the History channel, WW2 Treasure Hunters. Producer Emma Read says of the show
“The series reveals the unique attitudes to prisoners in different countries and cultures and the varied ways we balance human rights and public security.”
The Man Behind The Series
Journalist Raphael Rowe will be the presenter taking a very unique journey for the show. He grew up in South East London and was a troubled teenager. In December 1988 at the age of 20, he was charged with murder and robbery and remanded to Brixton Prison. Rowe spent 12 years in prison as one of the M25 three for a crime he always maintained he did not commit. He was freed in 2000 after the case went to the European Court of Human Rights. His case was overturned and he was found innocent.
Having spent time behind bars for so many years as an innocent man certainly gives Rowe a very unique interviewing perspective. He isn’t just visiting these locations, he’s actually being admitted as a prisoner and experiencing life inside with the inmates. He’s exposing himself to the most terrifying, destitute, and violent conditions in the most notorious prisons. He embeds himself with prisoners in each jail for a week, sharing a cell with real inmates and taking part in their daily lives while incarcerated. He also joins the guards to discover the tactics they adopt to keep the peace in these volatile environments.
Rowe said of the experience
“Going back inside to film this series was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve made. Taking on the persona of a prisoner in order to immerse myself in the daily life and routine of convicted criminals and the conditions they are held in around the world was dangerous. The conditions in these prisons are so tough for very different reasons, and the prisoners we spoke to offer an insight that is both captivating and chilling.”
The show will be a four-part series. They travel to prisons in Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine, and Belize. It will be available for streaming July 6th, 2018
Updated: June 29, 2018