60 Days In

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
60 Days In TV Poster Image
Reality prison expose is absorbing but ethically dicey.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Participants have a variety of reasons for going undercover, some of them quite noble, including one woman who hopes her intervention will ultimately help the inmates. Positive messages are subverted by the fact that inmates are being shown on TV without their knowledge (they believe they're being filmed for a documentary).

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the participants we get to know are brave; some are more open-minded and kindhearted than others. Prejudices shift over the course of the season. 


Footage of prisoner altercations, a woman crying in pain; inmates being roughly handcuffed or pushed to their knees; guns are pointed and fired during target shooting; inmates scuffle and wrestle and occasionally viciously punch or kick one another; the danger of participants' situation is underlined repeatedly with scary music playing; some discussion of the specifics of crimes including murder.


Jokes about sex in prison; references to rape. 


Hell, damn; bleeped "s--t" and "f--k." Correctional officers call men a "bitch" implying cowardice. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Discussion of drugs in a criminal justice context, footage of inmates smoking (presumably) marijuana and snorting cocaine. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 60 Days In is a reality show about seven individuals who pose undercover in a county jail to expose corruption. The show plays up the more dangerous and violent aspects of jail, lingering on shots of prisoners fighting, smoking marijuana, and more. Guns are fired during target practice; discussion of crimes; references to and jokes about prison sex and rape. Participants are attacked, punched, and hurt; one is confined to solitary. Cursing includes frequent bleeped f--k and s--t." Drugs: marijuana and cocaine, used onscreen, as well as references to drugs in a criminal justice context. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byloyalunarythm March 12, 2020

Not real, it's staged

The last episode I watched there was a inmate in holding looking right at the camera showing $1700. Cash in a holding cell would never happen in reality that I... Continue reading
Adult Written byJimboS1 February 21, 2019

The good an the bad

First off abner is a joke! He is a follower an has no idea what the hell he is doing. His job is to infiltrate an get info, not play gangbanger an act like he t... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydog1 December 9, 2017

What's the story?

Concerned about corruption in the Clark County, Indiana prison system, Sheriff Jamey Noel has launched a new program intended to root out the rotten apples: a group of seven innocent people will spend 60 DAYS IN. In jail, that is, with a teacher, a marine, a social worker, a stay-at-home mom and three others sent to separate locations, all undercover as offenders. Participants will live in the prisons as prisoners, while show producers film goings-on under the guise of producing a documentary. It's dangerous work, but those undertaking it hope that ultimately their participation will help their community's jails run better. 

Is it any good?

Scary and interesting if a bit ethically suspect, this show satisfies the curiosity of non-offenders, who might wonder, "how would I handle it if I were imprisoned?" Watching the innocent mingle with the (presumed) guilty, however, has a side-effect: the viewer is complicit in a lie, since prisoners who appear on the show are told that they're being filmed for a "documentary." Were they told that it would be shown on national television and appear more as a reality show? We are shown the inmates signing releases, but not their informed consent, which adds a sleazy and unwelcome layer to this program. Nonetheless, it's absorbing enough, generally centering on the kind of drama that prison shows, reality or scripted, tend to center on: fights, people screaming, arguments over scarce resources, furtive prison sex. It may scare teens straight, but adults won't learn anything new. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reality shows that focus on law enforcement. What messages do they send? Do you think showing the violent behavior of inmates and other illicit activities serves a purpose beyond being entertaining? If so, what?

  • Were you surprised to see real people doing drugs onscreen during 60 Days In? At what age is it OK for a teen to watch movies or TV shows with drug use? 

  • Do you know any other reality shows that focus on the criminal justice system. Why are shows set in prisons entertaining or interesting to viewers? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: March 10, 2016
  • Cast: Jamey Noel
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming
  • Last updated: September 28, 2020

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