A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series comes with a warning about extremely graphic and violent content, and it proves well-earned; scenes include rough gang fights, stabbings (with open wounds visible), and more. Drug smuggling is regularly discussed, and confiscated illegal narcotics are frequently visible. Curses like “s--t” and “f--k” are used frequently but bleeped. While the series is intended to showcase the hard work of the prison police, it also sends a pretty bleak message about the illegal activities that take place inside prison walls.
What's the story?
THE SQUAD: PRISON POLICE follows special agents who respond to and investigate crimes in Tennessee prisons. Cameras follow Deputy Director Jerry Lester as he leads the prison police team, which includes Special Agent in Charge Jason Woodall, undercover operations expert Special Agent John Fisher, gang expert Sergeant Nicky Jordan, drug expert Sergeant Valerie Hampton, and Special Agent Joe England. Agents Donan Clark, Scott Miller, and Richard Metcalfe round out the group. Together they work to solve cases involving gang attacks, drug smuggling, and other illegal activities taking place inside some of the state’s maximum-security prisons.
Is it any good?
This gritty series underscores the fact that prison police squads regularly put their lives on the line to control over-crowded prisons. It also highlights the violent culture of state prison systems and the high level of illegal activity that takes place in them.
It’s interesting, but it also offers some troubling messages. Despite reminders that people are innocent until proven otherwise, the squad members consistently suggest that the prisoners they're investigating are guilty. And, ultimately, the show paints a very grim picture of law enforcement’s inability to control major crimes behind prison walls.
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?
What's the impact of the violence shown in this series? How does it compare to violence on a fictional series?