National Geographic Channel's Series On Ga. Prisons Starts Tonight PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 23 February 2009 08:27
TRION, GEORGIA:  From the National Geographic Channel's Locked In, Deputy Warden Cedric Taylor speaks to an inmate at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia. © Derek Bell / part2 pictures

The Pennville Hays State Prison is getting national television exposure beginning next week with the launch of the National Geographic Channel’s series called, “Hard Time.”

Local officers and convicts serving at the local prison will be featured in the upcoming six-part series, according to an advanced screening by The News.

“Behind bars, there are two sets of rules: prison protocol and convict code. To survive one, you might have to break the other. So begins another day in a brutal world, where respect is hard-won, time is distorted, violence is a constant threat and redemption is an elusive quest,” according to the National Geographic Channel.

The first episode starts 9 p.m. Monday. That episode is entitled “Breaking In.”

Although the first series deals mainly with inmates at the Georgia Diagnostic Center in Jackson, the remaining five episodes deal squarely with sensitive issues at the heart of Hays State Prison.

For example, on Oct. 13 when Johnny Mack Brown and Michael Tweedel escaped from Hays, National Geographic camera crews were onsite. The film crew followed the manhunt and chronicled how it went.

According to the National Geographic Channel, here is a synopsis of the upcoming episodes:




Monday, February 23, 2009,

at 9 PM ET/PT

“You ain’t at home with your family, people. You‘re in the Georgia Department of Corrections. 

You belong to me; you belong to the state of Georgia. All your freedom [expletive] is gone.”

Officer Lawrence Moore

Welcome to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Ga.  Inmates are “greeted” here for an average of a few weeks with strict rules of conduct and discipline, before being classified and sent to a permanent facility to serve their hard time.  Follow officer Lawrence Moore as he gets new inmates from murderers to minor offenders shaved, showered, deloused and ready to be immersed in prison life.  Then hear from inmates like Kenneth Bramlett, whose first day in prison provides a sobering shot of reality.  The process of breaking them in has begun.




Monday, March 2, 2009,

at 9 PM ET/PT

Hays State Prison is one of the toughest facilities in Georgia. Follow Stephen Crane and 18 other inmates who are being transferred here. They’ll be forced to learn the ropes and face the hurdles that come with entering a new prison. Elgin Tracy is a 23-year-old Iraq War veteran.  Now he is on a different front line as a corrections officer, level one, starting his first day on the job.  Crane and Tracy are entering a place where the tests will come daily and tensions are especially high.  The day before, during a routine count, inmates ambushed an officer and knocked him unconscious.  It’s a bitter reminder that the system’s efforts to control inmates at Hays can make its officers targets.




Monday, March 9, 2009,

 at 9 PM ET/PT

At his home overlooking Hays State Prison, deputy warden for security Cedric Taylor is up early and has called in the head of his special forces, the CERT Team, for a surprise shakedown of inmates.  This is one of the largest actions the prison can take — more than 30 officers blanket the cellhouse, searching every inmate and every room for contraband and weapons.  We’ll see the CERT Team and its K-9 unit search for smuggled contraband, such as drugs, homemade alcohol, even makeshift pets.  Then meet inmate Morgan Corley, who fashioned himself into a “chain-gang Godfather” at the helm of a prison criminal enterprise, trafficking everything from hard drugs to cell phones through the prison.




Monday, March 16, 2009,

at 9 PM ET/PT

Doing time in a world this extreme can change anyone.  For some, that transformation starts physically, often in the form of a prison tattoo.  Meet “Yankee,” who uses deodorant to transfer pattern from paper to skin, burnt baby oil for ink and needles fashioned from straightened springs.  The entire process is illegal in prison, and getting caught can guarantee time in solitary confinement.  Then we follow Elliot Crowl, who underwent an extreme change of his own — becoming what he calls “the female gender” behind bars.  Now, he is nearing the end of a five-year sentence and awaiting life on the outside.





Monday, March 23, 2009,

at 9 PM ET/PT

“I jumped on top [of the officer] and went to hit him again. 

The state that I was in, if I had a knife, yeah, I would probably kill him.”

       Inmate Erick Golphin

For the second time, Erick Golphin has assaulted a correctional officer.  He’ll be sent to Hi-Max ― the most extreme prison environment allowed under American law.  Beds are bolted to the walls, doors are operated remotely and inmates are checked every half-hour.  Across the grounds is death row, where inmates await the ultimate penalty — death by lethal injection.  But for those at the other end of the spectrum, Georgia has “shock incarceration” for nonviolent first-time offenders: 90 days of intense, military-style boot camp.  Here, young offenders are pushed to their limits to develop discipline and self-control, and get an unforgettable taste of the ramifications of a continued life of crime. 




Monday, March 30, 2009,

at 9 PM ET/PT

Every element of control at Hays State Prison, every handcuff and lock, feeds one central purpose: to keep convicted and dangerous felons inside.  But when it all fails, two inmates make their move for freedom.  Follow the intense manhunt to capture Johnny Mack Brown and Michael Tweedel.  Inmates go into lockdown, tactical squads assemble and K-9 units scour the riverside looking for clues.  Meet one of the best man hunters in the state and watch the shakedown as inmates are interrogated, beds are ripped open and everything is searched.  One month after the escape, Hays is becoming a different place.

“Hard Time” is produced by part2 pictures for the National Geographic Channel.  Series producer and directors are David Shadrack Smith, Gregory Henry and Eric Strauss.  For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Kathleen Cromley, senior vice president of production is Michael Cascio and executive vice president of content is Steve Burns. 

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