Peace everyone, we've just released our latest video shedding light on TV networks. Don't miss out on our exposé, revealing the reality behind their incarceration-themed reality shows. These programs profit from and perpetuate the biopolitical process, feeding into carceral capitalism for entertainment, and further controlling marginalized populations. Join us in the fight to abolish these exploitative shows with the #AIRS Campaign.
To: Call to Remove "60 Days In" Urging A&E Networks' President Paul Buccieri and A&E Leadership
#AIRS Campaign: Abolishing A&E's "60 Days In" Show
The #AIRS campaign targets TV networks like MSNBC, A&E, and Netflix for their controversial Incarcerated Reality Shows, including "60 Days In," "Behind Bars," "LockUp," "Jailbirds New Orleans," and "Girl Incarcerated Young And Locked Up." The coalition comprises Directly Impacted Leaders, Film Writers, and organizations like America On Trial Inc., A Little Piece Of Light, New Hour For Women & Children L.I, Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition (H.C.H.C.), and Seed Of Liberation.
- The primary goal is to mobilize against A&E and its President to cease "60 Days In."
- Despite earning $42 million in 2016, incarcerated individuals on the show receive no compensation.
- Demands include fair compensation for participants, allocation of profits to support reintegration programs, and accountability for perpetuating violence and stigma.
Why is this important?
- Cultural Industry Emergence: The convergence of the prison-industrial complex and neoliberalism gave rise to the prison as a cultural industry. During the 1980s, state and private sector partnerships capitalized on draconian penal policies, leading to a proliferation of prisons and prison culture.
- Entertainment Trends: Since the early 2000s, U.S. television has embraced incarceration as a theme for nonfiction entertainment. Programs like "60 Days In" leverage the enclosed spaces and disciplinary tactics of real-life prisons for dramatic storytelling.
- Television Programming Landscape: Various reality-based law enforcement programs preceded the surge of prison-themed entertainment. Shows like "COPS" paved the way for a multitude of programs focused on incarceration, showcasing aspects of prison life to audiences.
- The Premise of "60 Days In": The series introduces volunteers who undergo undercover imprisonment to gather intelligence on "crime and corruption" within the institution. Each season features a diverse cast, including activists, skeptics, and aspiring law enforcement professionals.
- Incarceration as Entertainment: "60 Days In" transforms the harsh realities of prison life into captivating entertainment. While viewers are promised a glimpse into the stark realities of incarceration, the series also highlights the normalization of prison as a cultural phenomenon.
- Prison Labor Exploitation: Incarcerated individuals serve as both setting and cast members for television productions, contributing to the profitability of the prison-industrial complex. Their unpaid labor generates value for both the prison and media companies.
- Partnerships and Profit: TV production companies collaborate with penal institutions, benefiting from subsidized filming locations and access to prison resources. Strategic partnerships, such as with tech companies, further monetize the prison as a site for cultural production.
- Involvement of Prison Officials: Prison officials play active roles in crafting and marketing reality television programs. They contribute to storyline development, monitor filming activities, and engage in promotional efforts to enhance the series' visibility and brand value.
- Social Media Integration: "60 Days In" extends its reach through social media platforms, encouraging audience participation and interaction. Viewers become part of the narrative, contributing to the circulation of common-sense knowledge about incarceration.
- Micro-Celebrity and Entrepreneurialism: Participants and prison officials capitalize on their involvement in the show, seeking increased visibility and career opportunities. Their engagement with social and digital media platforms aligns with the entrepreneurial logic of carceral capitalism.
- Mutually Beneficial Participation: The promise of reality television offers participants the chance to leverage their media exposure for personal gain. For some, participation serves as a stepping stone to careers in law enforcement or corrections, reinforcing the narrative of self-enterprise under neoliberalism.