In an extraordinary Australian television first, cameras will go beyond the high walls and barbed wire of three maximum security prisons when Australia Behind Bars begins next week on Nine.
This powerful series presented by Melissa Doyle has unprecedented access into the harsh realities of daily life behind bars for inmates and corrections officers alike as it documents the confronting and compelling stories, the heartbreak, hell and hopes, of an existence in prison.
With close to 200 Australians sent to prison every day for crimes ranging from traffic offences to homicide, this uncompromising environment requires a high level of grit and instinct to survive. Within the inmate population are complex and multi-layered hierarchies of affiliations, loyalties, and gangs to adhere to.
The battle lines between guards and inmates are clear as tensions reach boiling point. Approval of social interactions must be sought from respected older inmates, and ensuring that lines of loyalty are not crossed by engaging with anyone known as a “rat”, or informant, is paramount.
As for the corrections officers themselves, they undoubtedly have one of the toughest jobs in the world. These unsung heroes work tirelessly in the face of constant threats of violence and verbal abuse while trying to curb the flow of contraband and drugs into the prisons.
Australia Behind Bars will give viewers a dramatic, firsthand look at a part of society they rarely see, with unforgettable characters, intimate access to the inner workings of the prison system, and highly charged emotional moments of unfiltered humanity.
Australia Behind Bars premieres Thursday, February 3, at 9.00pm on Channel 9