First Week In

Common Sense Media says

Lots of swearing and strong themes in jail docuseries.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's an underlying message that getting in trouble with the law is a negative experience. The show offers a voyeuristic look at the process.

Positive role models

The people featured on the show are innocent until proven guilty, but a few admit to acting inappropriately.

Violence

Inmates are sometimes shown resisting officers; restrained inmates are sometimes wrestled to the ground or maced. Some of the charges discussed include violent incidents, sexual assault, and prostitution.

Sex

Newly processed inmates are shown stripping off their clothes to change into jail attire, but no nudity is shown.

Language

Words like "hell," "ass," "bitch," and "damn" are frequently audible; stronger curses are bleeped. Obscene hand gestures are blurred.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some of those incarcerated are charged with drug-related crimes. Some inmates are drug addicts; a few note how drugs led them to make poor choices and criminal activity.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series, which follows people who have been arrested as they go to jail, is best left to older viewers. It contains some strong language ("piss," "bitch"; "s--t," "f--k"  are bleeped), some aggressive behaviors, and discussions of criminal charges like prostitution, kidnapping, selling drugs, and sexual assault.

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What's the story?

FIRST WEEK IN is a reality documentary series that profiles individuals who have been arrested for the first time and follows them during the first seven days of their incarceration. Cameras follow specific individuals who have been taken into custody at various county jails and detention centers around the country and charged with crimes ranging from pandering and selling drugs to domestic violence and sexual assault. After being processed, each inmate copes with their circumstances differently, whether it be desperately attempting to bail themselves out, contemplating their lives, or engaging in behaviors that result in disciplinary action. Correctional officers offer some thoughts about the inmates circumstances, as well as some explanations about the day-to-day operations of the institution. At the end of each episode, limited information is given about the fate of each person profiled.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The series offers a voyeuristic look at what happens to individuals who are arrested once they are taken into custody, and the various challenges they may face once they are inside. Because of its focus on people who have never been arrested before, it also highlights some of the specific problems they may have adjusting to the system.

The approach is non-judgmental, but it is often hard to remember that these folks are innocent until proven guilty thanks to some of their own comments and behaviors. Nonetheless, it does a good job showing viewers how unpleasant being incarcerated can be.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the experience of watching people go through a difficult time. What is the appeal of a show like this? Why do people agree to participate in a show like this?

  • Do you think reality TV shows like this one will help prevent people from making poor choices? Does this show glamorize the incarceration process at all?

  • Do you assume the inmates are guilty because they are in jail? Or are you able to maintain the sense that they might be innocent?

TV details

Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of First Week In was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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