- Nine law-abiding citizens went undercover in an Atlanta jail for the documentary series “60 Days In.”
- The show, now in its fourth season, shines light on different aspects of life in jail.
- Each participant was given a fake identity and booked under false charges, but one of them blew their cover story.
At Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, violence, drug use, and gang activity run rampant.
It seems like the last place any law-abiding citizen would want to visit, let alone live for two months.
But that’s exactly what nine people did on the A&E documentary series “60 Days In,” whose fourth season premieres Monday.
The show took participants from all over the country and sent them undercover to live as inmates at Fulton County Jail. Given false identities and booked under fake charges, the participants lived among the population of the jail without corrections officers or their fellow inmates knowing their secret.
The participants are tasked with finding out as much information as possible about the inner workings of the jail and reporting back to chief jailer Col. Mark Adger, one of the only jail employees in on the ruse.
In early episodes, the undercover volunteers are constantly tested by veteran inmates. Some participants had their cover stories immediately questioned for possible inconsistencies. Others had their property stolen or were pressured into buying items for other people from the jail’s commissary, a common experience for new inmates.
“It can be very difficult, especially depending on the strength of your own psyche, to withstand such pressures,” Adger told Business Insider. “They felt hopeless. They felt they were at the mercy of whatever happens next.”
As much as 20% of the jail’s 2,500-inmate population is affiliated with a gang, according to data provided by Adger, and learning to navigate gang life was critical to fitting in.
“The easiest thing for most civilians is stay in your own lane,” Nate, one of the participants, told Business Insider. “Don’t try to cross the gang members in a negative light because you know they will take care of it if they feel disrespected.”
Season 4 marks the second instalment of the show to take place in Atlanta, with the first two seasons filmed at Clark County Jail in southern Indiana. Previous seasons shined a light on various aspects of life in jail, including the brutal living conditions, the demoralising food, and the inventive ways inmates create and distribute drugs.
This season comes with a built-in twist – according to A&E, Adger had to end filming early after one of the participants blew their cover and compromised the safety of the other undercover inmates.
“60 Days In” premieres Monday, January 1 at 9 p.m. EST on A&E.
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