Channel 4 gets ‘Banged Up’ Stateside with BriteSpark

Channel 4 has commissioned Argonon Group-backed BriteSpark Films for a three-part social experiment series that will see British teens jailed in the US. 

Banged Up (3 x 60 minutes) will see eight teens aged 15-17 – some of whom are in trouble with the law – spending a week living and working in a tough Florida jail in a supersized version of an existing American programme called Behaviour Attitude Modification.

The scheme is designed to keep young tearaways on track and encourage them to make life choices that will keep them out of prison. The series marks the first time British teens have taken part in such a scheme.

The six male and two female teens will experience life behind bars at Florida’s Brevard County Jail under Sheriff Wayne Ivey. Home to around 1,600 inmates, Brevard County consists of male, female and juvenile wings and houses a mixture of inmates charged with crimes ranging from theft and prostitution to multiple murder.

During their incarceration, the participants will be put to work in the jail’s kitchen and laundry alongside regular inmates and be part of a chain gang working on the roads. They’ll also have to take part in the daily routine, which includes military style physical drills, and only one phone call home.

Banged Up was commissioned by Ian Dunkley, Channel 4 commissioning editor for fact ent. Executive producers are Nick Godwin and Bill Erfuth. Series director is Matt Rudge.

Dunkley said: “The series poses an intriguing question – at a time when knife crime and youth offending in the UK is on the rise, could exposing wayward teens to the harsh reality of prison life act as a deterrent to them spending a life behind bars?”

Godwin added: “It’s never been more important to look at new ways of keeping at risk youngsters out of prison and out of the cemetery – we’re hoping this will be a compelling and thought-provoking addition to the debate.”