Emporium Preps Prison Doc for Netflix


British indie Emporium Productions has scored its first Netflix commission with a new edition of Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons.

Set to premiere on the service July 6, the four-part series is hosted by Raphael Rowe, an investigative journalist who spent 12 years behind bars in the U.K. before his murder conviction was overturned on appeal. He spent a week in each prison explored in the series, taking him to Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine and Belize.

Emma Read, Emporium’s founder, noted: “We have had an exciting adventure making the series with Netflix which played to Emporium’s strength in access-driven documentaries as we worked with governments around the world persuading them to open the gates of their maximum security prisons to viewers. The series reveals the unique attitudes to prisoners in different countries and cultures and the varied ways we balance human rights and public security.”

Rowe added, “Going back inside to film this series was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve made. Taking on the persona of a prisoner in order to immerse myself in the daily life and routine of convicted criminals and the conditions they are held in around the world was dangerous. The conditions in these prisons are so tough for very different reasons and the prisoners we spoke to offer an insight that is both captivating and chilling. This series blows away any preconceived ideas that prisons can be soft and why rehabilitation should be a priority for the international community.”