New Orleans (AP) — Eight years ago, a video shot inside New Orleans prison of a prisoner who used drugs, drank beer, and handled a gun caused anger and a high federal consent decree.
Now another kind of reality TV is angry. The new Netflix series, which debuts next week, promises to see trapped women up close, personal and “scandalous.” Critics are angry with Gasman about what they call the exploitative waste of resources.
Premiered on September 24, “Jailbird: New Orleans” is the latest in a show that previously focused on women imprisoned in Sacramento, California. “This gritty reality series is talking about feuds, affairs, and toilets among women confined to the Orleans Judicial Center in New Orleans,” Netflix said in a promotional material. In the two-minute trailer, a prisoned woman talks about sex life, a trumpeter plays on Bourbon Street, and a handcuffed woman screams in a prison elevator.
The show has already ignited a Sacramento-like backlash. There, activists said they presented a false portrait of a dangerously understaffed lockup that couldn’t cure a woman’s mental health problems.
Both prisons are under a federal consent decree. In a February report, federal observers said the entire pod, with dozens of prisoners, remained unmanned daily due to a shortage of New Orleans prison personnel.
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The Secretary-General of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition said Thursday that the new show was a distraction from implementing the prison reform agreement. “We should have focused on getting everything to the highest level of compliance, not shooting the show,” says Sade Dumas. “It’s a shame to see a show and ridicule a very serious and often deadly place.”
Dumas is also participating in a third-party campaign group, PAC for Justice, with the aim of electing new sheriffs.
Gasman declined the interview request for this story. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said he was unable to participate due to the terms of the agency agreement with 44 Blue Productions LLC, the “Jailbird” production company.
Mama was also a word from another Politico, Oliver Thomas, who consulted at the show. Thomas, the host of the WBOK Radio Talk Show, which is attempting a comeback bid for the city council, said he had not obtained permission from the producer.
Last year, three men died in a New Orleans prison, one due to overdose and the other due to suicidal suspicion. Federal observers say prisons are still a violent place for prisoners and lawmakers.
Judge Lance Africk of the US District Court, who oversees the consent decree, complained about the lack of mental health care for women. Court-appointed observers say New Orleans must build a new “special needs” section in prisons to address the issue, but the proposal is to refurbish parts of existing prisons. It was stalled by opposition from the administration of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who prefers.
Most prisoners in New Orleans prisons received psychiatric treatment last year. Bruce Reilly, Deputy Director of Voice of the Experienced, asked how the producer of “Jailbirds” was able to obtain informed consent from a prisoned woman.
“Are you preying on people with mental illness (who)? There are many questions to answer,” he said. “I don’t know how having a TV show that takes advantage of people’s pain takes care of them while they’re there.”
The sheriff’s office defended the show in a statement issued by spokesperson Phil Sterry. The contract with the production company was signed in 2019, and the recording took place over four days in early 2020, he said. Authorities did not immediately reveal whether they were Gasman or the person responsible for the day-to-day operations of the prison at the time. , Darnley Hodge has signed the contract.
“By sharing their stories and introducing the work of some agents in the Orleans Justice Center pods, sharing messages, prisoners can rebuild their lives and discourage others. I was hoping that I could show the common struggle I face on my individual journeys to get them to follow the same path of imprisonment, “Sterry said.
The sheriff’s office said everyone involved in the production gave “individual consent” and the imprisoned woman “may have chosen to consult a lawyer.”
Still, the show was surprised by the official defenders of Orleans, who represent most prisoners. In a joint statement with the Promise of Justice Initiative and other groups, Orleans Public Defenders said they were “frightened” to learn about the show.
“It was a disgusting misuse of the Sheriff’s day that this documentary was allowed. In addition, Sheriff Gasman did not give official notice about the filming and production of the show,” the group said.
In that statement, the sheriff’s office stated that the production of the show did not harm chronically inadequate staffing. Officials said the show’s crew was accompanied by “off-duty security details” and normal prison operations were unaffected.
According to The Sacramento Bee, in Sacramento, the sheriff’s office charged the production company $ 42,211 and reimbursed about 500 hours of overtime. Orleans Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to invoice or check requests.
The question raised in Sacramento was not limited to the use of extra time. A woman who was reprimanded for her role in the county lockup battle later told Bee that the quarrel was “terrible near the stage.” The newspaper found that other scenes were selectively edited for dramatic effects.
Meanwhile, 44 Blue Productions has allowed controversial sheriff Scott Jones to participate in the recording. 44 The Orleans Sheriff’s Office contract with Blue Productions states that the company retains “editing control” of the show, but also gives Sheriff’s Office the right to comment on live video. The company has promised to “work in good faith to resolve such objections.”
The voice of an experienced executive, Riley questioned how realistic a “reality” television show really is.
“Put the camera on people and they start the performance,” he said. “If the guards are making things happen, they are all acting and doing, perhaps encouraging things for dramatic effects.”
Netflix and 44Blue Productions did not respond to comment requests. Riley questioned whether their decision to stream the show shortly before the November 13 sheriff election should be treated as a “campaign donation” to Gasman.
This is not the first brush of the controversial 44 Blue Productions in New Orleans. The company also creates a “night watch” that records when emergency personnel in the city’s emergency medical services are at work. Critics are wondering if Shaw distracts the doctor and gets full consent from the injured patient.
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The Netflix series promotes a “scandalous” view in New Orleans prisons | Entertainment
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