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New docu-series tells real life stories of ‘Women in Prison’

Focuses on the real-life stories of six women serving time in a maximum-security state prison


In this undated image released by Investigation Disovery, inmates appear at a talent show at a women’s prison in Indiana. Investigation Discovery’s new docu-series, “Women in Prison”, is a three-part series premiering Thursday, June 11, 2015, at 10 p.m. ET.

Investigation Discovery via AP

By Luqman Adeniyi
Associated Press

NEW YORK — There’s been plenty of hype about the return of “Orange Is the New Black” this week, but there’s another TV series about women behind bars that is vying for viewers’ attention as well.

“Women in Prison,” also premiering this week, is Investigation Discovery’s latest docu-series and focuses on the real-life stories of six women serving time in a maximum-security state prison in Indiana. lt does feature actors dramatizing the offenses the women committed, and, much like the award-winning Netflix series, paints a multidimensional portrait of the inmates by focusing on their humanity more than their crimes.

Alicia Brown, one of the women featured in “Women in Prison,” hopes that fans of “Orange Is the New Black” might be drawn to this series, which debuts on Thursday.

“I think it will be great to attract the fans just because they have gotten to see a made-up version or a highly publicized version, so now they are kind of getting to get a glimpse into the real-life version,” she said.

The show doesn’t reveal what each woman did until near the end of the episode. In Brown’s case, an addiction to prescription pills led her down a criminal path, which she described as a shameful experience.

She said her and other prisoners “not only have to deal with what we have done, we have to deal with what we have done to our families.”

“My whole reason in doing this is to help other women who are out there, who haven’t come to prison,” Brown, who is serving a 10-year sentence. “They haven’t had this happen yet. I am hoping to stop them from doing what I have done.”

Producer Alexandra Lacey said using actors to recreate scenes from the prisoners’ past helps the audience connect to the story.

“They will be able to go on that journey with them and really empathize,” Lacey said.

“It is a lot easier for them to relate to the women because you can see them in that former life before they came to prison.”

Lacey said working within a women’s prison is different because of the nurturing and welcoming feeling she gets from prisoners. She also noted the inmates’ resourcefulness: They created their own make-up, fancy ramen noodle dishes and even egg rolls prepared with popcorn bags.

Lacey said for her and her small crew, “the experience opened our eyes to the many talented women sitting in prisons across America for sentences that are very long.”

Brown, once a soccer mom and wife, said a lot of her assumptions about prison were wrong. Many of the viewers will find the same.

“There are a lot of me. I am a normal here. Many women get wrapped up in things they never thought they would” Brown said.