Lock Down

About the show

Lockdown plunges viewers headfirst into life in the "big house," the gritty underworld of America's maximum-security prisons, where gangs are prevalent, predators stalk their next prey and inmates are armed with deadly weapons. But prison officials have their own weapons in the form of modern surveillance and old-time isolation -- plus steel batons and pepper spray -- to help keep the peace in these miniature war zones.


Upcoming episodes

Oct 23rd

Inmate to Ex-Con

Prison is tough, but some say getting out is even tougher. Most inmates leave prison with less than $200 in hand and must find a job and a bed before the money runs out. Crime, gangs and drugs tempt ex-cons struggling to make good, and all it takes is one bad decision for them to land right back behind bars. After serving 14 years, 37-year-old donovon green has just been released onto the mean streets of l.A. County. Green entered the penal system an armed robber, and violent felon, but he believes he’s undergone a transformation behind bars and is eager to get a paying job and, most importantly, prove himself to his 16-year-old daughter eva. But green has never been on the internet or even used a cell phone. And with carjacking and armed robbery on his life’s resume, who is going to hire him? Another crime would mean a third strike on his record, landing green back in the slammer… this time, possibly for good. He has to learn be a model citizen and fast. And that won’t be easy.
Oct 27th

Women on the Edge

The city with the highest murder rate in america. At the wayne county jail, committed officers and counsellors struggle to rehabilitate female offenders, including thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes, with innovative new programs to stop the vicious cycle of crime, jail and more crime. Angry and violent, many of these women have been sexually abused or abandoned as children, and almost all have been incarcerated multiple times. In the downtown jail, we follow the most audacious program fresh start which works exclusively with drug-addicted prostitutes.
Oct 30th

Kids Behind Bars

Acting as a cross between the juvenile system and the penitentiary, colorado’s youthful offender system (yos) aims to break down criminal habits and gang mentalities, while supporting reintegration into society. They call the first day, hell day, and appropriately so. The immediate barrage of insults and grueling demands delivers a brutal dose of what lies ahead. As with similar training programs, the new group of recruits will endure very hard times, but this is not a typical boot camp. Rather than patriotic men and women ready to serve their country, they are underage, violent felons who are anything but eager to be here. From first-time convicts to young, street-savvy veterans, this group walks the thin line between delinquency and prison.
Nov 3rd

Alaska Bush Troopers

Con air: Alaska: The last frontier and a vast wilderness that is home to the northern lights, sled dogs, eskimos, and criminals? Yes, even alaska has its share of bad guys, from drunk drivers to sex offenders, robbers to murderers, and there are 12 prisons and jails to house them. But in a state larger than texas, california and montana combined, with a road system so sparse and disconnected that even the capitol city is inaccessible by road, just getting offenders to jail is a challenge. This is the job of alaska state troopers, who transport prisoners by snowmobile, riverboat and, most often, aircraft. But alaska has an inhospitable, sub-arctic climate that doesn’t always make for ideal flight conditions. Flying an aircraft in severe weather is hazardous enough, but put half a dozen criminals on board with one lone trooper and a whole host of other dangers come into play…conflict, physical altercations, even the possibility of a hostage situation.
Nov 6th

Sex Offenders

Fremont correctional facility is one of colorado’s largest and busiest prisons, and perhaps for both inmates and officers, one of its most complicated. Fremont is like an entire city, contained within itself. Multiple factories and workshops pump out vast quantities of product, and high-volume food and laundry operations provide services to numerous facilities. Yet perhaps what makes this prison most unique is its population composition. About half of the state’s sex offenders are housed here, and they make up 75% of this facility’s population. Housing such a large number of these offenders in one place is a daunting challenge. Fremont must protect these potential victims inside, while preparing them for life outside the walls, for a society that often does not want them back.
Nov 10th

Chaos Control

Forget midwestern hospitality at the st louis county jail. Built in 1998 and rededicated in 2004, this downtown facility processes over 30,000 arrestees each year. From drunk drivers and drug dealers to petty thieves and killers, they all pass through this municipal high-rise on their way to facing a judge. For the officers on the ground, that means seeing approximately 600 people every week - many of whom are inebriated and angry when they first arrive. Jail is the last place they want to be and they are not shy about sharing that information - at the top of their voices! Some of them even try to confront the officers. That's a mistake they'll soon regret. Still, these angry and often difficult prisoners must be booked, interviewed, strip-searched and processed. Some are middle class, some are poor, some are thugs and some appear to be crazy. Yet they're all held together in an open central booking area until they are assigned a cell. It forces the officers to constantly be on alert, since anything can happen at any time. It's highly dangerous, as officers will tell us, especially without the help of shackles and bars. All hope to go free soon but, for many, that's just an illusion. Meanwhile, they'll have to make their way through county jail without getting hurt or hurting anybody else - inmate or officer. Find out how tough it is to do time in america's heartland in lockdown: St louis county jail.
Nov 13th

Inside the Kill Fence

Some of the most violent criminals in colorado have a new home. And they seem to love it. Ten years ago, colorado opened a massive new penitentiary called sterling correctional facility (scf) and poured more than 2000 inmates into it, including some of the toughest and most disruptive felons in the state. To contain all these dangerous felons, colorado constructed a high-voltage electric fence around sterling - the first ever in the state. If touched, the 1.25-mile electric fence first delivers a 600-volt jolt. It's enough to stun, but not to kill. Those foolish enough to touch it a second time can receive up to 4000 volts of electricity and are sure to die. So far, no inmates have escaped. Behind the big electric fence, the inmates of sterling have resorted to classic convict behavior. Gangs flourish here - powerful latin gangs like the surenos and brutal homegrown white gangs like the openly racist '211'. Two of 211's gang leaders were recently convicted on charges of attempted murder and racketeering while behind bars. 211's top dogs may be willing to tell their stories. And through them, we'll learn the way the gangs operate behind bars. Sterling also makes extensive use of isolation - or administrative segregation, as it's known in colorado. We will go inside ad-seg to hear from inmates confined there for weeks, months, even years at a time. We'll hear from the officers who run the place and find out how some inmates still manage to do all kinds of damage while isolated all day, every day. At the same time, intel officers will tell us how they track gang and other illegal activities at sterling - and how they keep the lid on tight.
Nov 17th

Inside a Mexican Prison

Nuevo laredo lies just a few miles south of the us-mexico border, across the rio grande from laredo, texas. It's a major hot spot in the drug war - a border town known for its chilling violence and rampant corruption. And it's the perfect home for a notorious mexican prison known as cedes. Like other mexican prisons, cedes has earned a frightening reputation for violence over the years. In 2005, two american brothers jailed on homicide charges were found stabbed to death in their cells. Only a month before that, a gang shootout erupted on a basketball court, leaving one inmate dead and several others injured. The next day, two other inmates were stabbed to death and one was shot, caught in a barrage of 30 bullets. Guards later recovered six pistols and an ak-47 in inmate cells. Many of the inmates here are members of drug cartels and gangs like the mexican mafia. They are segregated from other prisoners yet their influence is felt throughout the prison. At cedes, nobody ever talks 'politics' or about violence behind bars. To do so would be to risk reprisals. A substantial number of prisoners here have served time in both american and mexican prisons and many prefer life at cedes, largely because of the astonishing amount of freedom they are given. The visitation policy is also unlike anything found in the united states. Inmates can meet with their loved ones in an open picnic area from 9am to 5pm, six days a week. In some cases conjugal visits are allowed in special private rooms. Officers believe that these perks reduce tensions inside the prison and ease the prisoners' transition to the outside world. But as we'll learn from the warden and officers, along with these freedoms comes constant danger. The threat of serious violence is present every second of every day. And as we'll find out first-hand, keeping cedes under control, even on a good day, is no easy task.