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National Geographic Society
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Popular series Lockdown returns for a fifth season, with four new episodes looking at life behind bars in some of the toughest jails in the US.


  • Lockdown 5: Shanks And Shakedowns
    The most dangerous and unpredictable inmates at the Cuyahoga County Jail are often the young men aged 18 to 25. Some are members of a new gang that is ravaging the jails and prisons of Ohio - the Heartless Felons. This notorious gang preys on other inmates and now they are trying to gain a foothold in the Cuyahoga County Jail. In this episode of Lockdown, we'll go behind jail walls to meet some of Cleveland's most dangerous men - and the officers who risk their lives to keep them in line.
  • Lockdown 5: Inside The Kill Fence
    Some of the most violent criminals in Colorado have a new home. And they seem to love it. Ten years ago, Colorado opened a massive new penitentiary called Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF) and poured more than 2000 inmates into it, including some of the toughest and most disruptive felons in the state. To contain all these dangerous felons, Colorado constructed a high-voltage electric fence around Sterling - the first ever in the state. If touched, the 1.25-mile electric fence first delivers a 600-volt jolt. It's enough to stun, but not to kill. Those foolish enough to touch it a second time can receive up to 4000 volts of electricity and are sure to die. So far, no inmates have escaped. Behind the big electric fence, the inmates of Sterling have resorted to classic convict behavior. Gangs flourish here - powerful Latin gangs like the Surenos and brutal homegrown white gangs like the openly racist '211'. Two of 211's gang leaders were recently convicted on charges of attempted murder and racketeering while behind bars. 211's top dogs may be willing to tell their stories. And through them, we'll learn the way the gangs operate behind bars. Sterling also makes extensive use of isolation - or administrative segregation, as it's known in Colorado. We will go inside ad-seg to hear from inmates confined there for weeks, months, even years at a time. We'll hear from the officers who run the place and find out how some inmates still manage to do all kinds of damage while isolated all day, every day. At the same time, Intel officers will tell us how they track gang and other illegal activities at Sterling - and how they keep the lid on tight.
  • Lockdown 5: Inside A Mexican Prison
    Nuevo Laredo lies just a few miles south of the US-Mexico border, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. It's a major hot spot in the drug war - a border town known for its chilling violence and rampant corruption. And it's the perfect home for a notorious Mexican prison known as Cedes. Like other Mexican prisons, Cedes has earned a frightening reputation for violence over the years. In 2005, two American brothers jailed on homicide charges were found stabbed to death in their cells. Only a month before that, a gang shootout erupted on a basketball court, leaving one inmate dead and several others injured. The next day, two other inmates were stabbed to death and one was shot, caught in a barrage of 30 bullets. Guards later recovered six pistols and an AK-47 in inmate cells. Many of the inmates here are members of drug cartels and gangs like the Mexican Mafia. They are segregated from other prisoners yet their influence is felt throughout the prison. At Cedes, nobody ever talks 'politics' or about violence behind bars. To do so would be to risk reprisals. A substantial number of prisoners here have served time in both American and Mexican prisons and many prefer life at Cedes, largely because of the astonishing amount of freedom they are given. The visitation policy is also unlike anything found in the United States. Inmates can meet with their loved ones in an open picnic area from 9am to 5pm, six days a week. In some cases conjugal visits are allowed in special private rooms. Officers believe that these perks reduce tensions inside the prison and ease the prisoners' transition to the outside world. But as we'll learn from the warden and officers, along with these freedoms comes constant danger. The threat of serious violence is present every second of every day. And as we'll find out first-hand, keeping Cedes under control, even on a good day, is no easy task.
  • Lockdown 5: Chaos Control
    Forget Midwestern hospitality at the St Louis County Jail. Built in 1998 and rededicated in 2004, this downtown facility processes over 30,000 arrestees each year. From drunk drivers and drug dealers to petty thieves and killers, they all pass through this municipal high-rise on their way to facing a judge. For the officers on the ground, that means seeing approximately 600 people every week - many of whom are inebriated and angry when they first arrive. Jail is the last place they want to be and they are not shy about sharing that information - at the top of their voices! Some of them even try to confront the officers. That's a mistake they'll soon regret. Still, these angry and often difficult prisoners must be booked, interviewed, strip-searched and processed. Some are middle class, some are poor, some are thugs and some appear to be crazy. Yet they're all held together in an open central booking area until they are assigned a cell. It forces the officers to constantly be on alert, since anything can happen at any time. It's highly dangerous, as officers will tell us, especially without the help of shackles and bars. All hope to go free soon but, for many, that's just an illusion. Meanwhile, they'll have to make their way through County Jail without getting hurt or hurting anybody else - inmate or officer. Find out how tough it is to do time in America's heartland in Lockdown: St Louis County Jail.