Where TV and movies film their prison scenes

  • What do “Ocean’s 8,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Daredevil” all have in common? Well if you look closely, you’ll notice that all three have filmed their prison scenes at the exact same location.
  • The Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island is a former prison that is now been turned into large production facility, which can be seen in a number of different movies and TV shows.
  • Broadway Stages, which now owns the property, gave us a private tour of the prison to check it out.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Jake Gabbard: Crimes have played a big role in many famous movies and TV shows, and of course, when there’s a crime, there’s also going to be punishment, and this usually means someone is going to prison.

When filmmakers need to shoot a prison scene, instead of recreating one from scratch in a studio, they can now film everything at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in New York, which has been converted into a fully functional production facility.

We got an inside look at how they turned what was once a prison into a go-to set for movie and TV production.

Hey guys, we are here at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island. This is where shows and movies like “Orange Is the New Black,” “Daredevil,” and “Ocean’s 8” film their prison scenes. Let’s go inside and take a look.

But first, a little history. The former men’s prison opened in 1976 and could hold 931 prisoners. Arthur Kill is the strip of water between Staten Island and New Jersey, which is how it got its name. Governor Andrew Cuomo closed the prison in 2011, after which Broadway Stages purchased the property, leaving much of it intact.

One of the most famous areas to shoot is the front of the visitors’ entrance with its iconic guard tower.

All along the watchtower.

Where you can get a good view of the grounds.

Just overwatching the prison. Whoa, what are you doing over there? Hold on!

This is where Sandra Bullock walks out in the beginning of “Ocean’s 8” and where we see the inmates leaving at the end of season six of “Orange Is the New Black.”

Piper: Oh, man!

Jake: All right, so we’re standing here in the visitors’ area of the prison. This is where you come in, you get signed in, you get checked, get processed through, and then they would lead you through to meet up with your prisoner.

All right, here you go, here’s my stuff. Let’s go. Let’s go make a movie.

Surrounding the facility is the same barbed-wire fencing from the prison to make it look authentic.

Also authentic, the giant keys that are still used to lock up various parts of the building. This is what you want. This is the key to the SHU. These things are heavy-duty.

Next on the tour was the visitation room, where many crime dramas are typically set. Arthur Kill has an area where you can meet at a table or behind a thick pane of glass.

To quote the great George Bluth, “I may have committed minor treason.”

When we visited, we noticed several prop vending machines left around the room.

So like, as you can tell, this was a prop because everything is turned backwards ’cause they can’t show the logos. That being said, it looks like there’s a big raid on the snacks in whatever scene they were filming here ’cause it is slim pickings.

But the pickings were even slimmer in the kitchen. “Orange Is the New Black” filmed season seven at Arthur Kill, and they left behind plenty of fake prop food.

They say prison food is really bad, but I bet prop prison food is even worse ’cause it’s not real.

Foam taters.

Connecting much of the prison is an area called Broadway. It’s this big, imposing hallway where sets are built, they’re moved from one wing to another, and when this was a prison, this was the main stretch that connected it all together.

What was once the prison gym has now been converted into a huge soundstage, which we couldn’t film because Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” was in production inside.

There’s also a chapel, classrooms, and a greenhouse.

While on tour, we noticed a really heavy-duty-looking iron door, which turned out to be a total fake.

Let me outta here! Huh. Easy.

But this door and area of the prison might look familiar since it was part of a huge escape scene in Netflix’s “Daredevil,” which, of course, we had to try and reenact.

Loudspeaker: Code 33, code 33.

Jake: Key sound, key sound.

A “Daredevil” fight scene was also filmed in the prison’s medical center.

We didn’t get to see the general-population cells, but for “Orange Is the New Black,” much of those scenes are filmed at their set at Astoria Kaufman Studios in Queens.

The infamous SHU scene, however, was filmed at the prison.

Facing my fears, going to the SHU. Each cell was outfitted with beds, a small sink, and a toilet. I could see why this is ideal to make a show or a movie because you are really immersing yourself in that environment.

While many TV shows and movies come here for the prison aesthetic, the grounds are also used for other types of productions as well. The space behind us, this big, open parking lot, was used to look like Afghanistan on CBS’s “The Code.”

Soldier: Where’s my corpsman?

Soldier: Cooper’s dead, sir. He bled out on the way back.

Soldier: XStat on Adler’s leg and call in for a dust-off now!

Jake: And the swimming pool has been converted into a different type of soundstage, one which can be used to film underwater scenes.

Filming at a place like Arthur Kill instead of a studio can make a show or film seem all the more real without breaking the bank. Just don’t forget the keys when you’re putting your actors behind bars.

I would like a piece of cake, but preferably if the cake had a key baked into it or maybe some kind of way they can get me out of here for the purpose of the scene I’m in. Thank you.

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