Today over 4,000 men and women are serving time in Irish prisons. Most of us, however, have never seen what lies behind the security walls and barbed wire fences.
Filmed over the course of a year, this two-part documentary series enters two Irish prisons and explores life behind bars through the eyes of the prisoner and of the prison officers. In the making of this series Midas Productions secured unprecedented access within Wheatfield and Shelton Abbey prisons which allows us, for the first time on Irish television, to show the reality of 'life on the inside'.
Men convicted of drugs offences, robbery and murder have allowed cameras into their cells to reveal what it's like to serve time in an Irish prison. From prison conditions to prison violence, these men recount their stories, how they pass their days and how being in prison affects them, and their families.
This observational documentary series has followed the lives of six prisoners over the course of a year. During the year, some of them hope for release, others may be considered for parole or for the new Community Return Scheme. Others just count another Christmas going by, one of many more Christmases to spend in Jail. We, through their eyes, explore the questions facing us all about our prison system.
The first episode is our introduction to Wheatfield Prison. Wheatfield is situated behind Liffey Valley in West Dublin. Up to 700 men can be incarcerated here at any time. Here, most men spend 18 hours in their cells every day. The documentary shows how day-to-day life is spent in the prison and we meet the prisoners with whom the camera spends the rest of the year. We also follow a prisoner as he is transferred from the closed institution to Shelton Abbey, an open prison in Co. Wicklow. Here we see the challenges facing prisoners and how they must readjust as they serve their sentence in a low security compound.
Life on the Inside is produced by Midas Productions for RTÉ.