By Debbie Gregory.
Since last fall, A&E cameras have been rolling inside the Clark County Jail as seven people went undercover as inmates for 60 days.
60 Days In is a television documentary that follows the volunteers as they exposed problems in the system.
One of the volunteers, Zac, a U.S. Marine veteranand aspiring DEA agent, estimated that 10% of the inmates he lived with were veterans, most of them suffering from PTSD, depression and drug addiction. He experienced a sense of camaraderie with his fellow Marine inmates, but also a sense of disappointment that they didn’t have access to the services they needed to get their lives back on track.
Zac himself experienced problems after transitioning, and said that most inmates weren’t aware the jail offered veterans advocacy services and an Alcoholics Anonymous support group — and that jail employees rarely advertised the fact that such programs existed.
Inmates and corrections officers knew there was a TV show filming inside the jail for a few months beginning in October, but very few people knew about the seven innocent people who volunteered to stay there. The existence of the undercover program was kept secret from the inmates, the guards, and most of the jail officials.
Prior to entering the jail, the volunteers received instruction on how to act around other inmates; they are also briefed on the cover stories they should tell, including details of the (fake) charges on which they were arrested.
Because producers realized that it would be difficult for volunteers to remain undercover after the first season, a second season was produced before the series premiered.
Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said that there are steps in place at booking to identify service members and veterans, and that the Veterans Justice Outreach is notified in order to provide services such as disability benefits, medical assistance, mental health assistance and court assistance. There is also a process in place to ease the transition upon release.