New prison talent show dangles carrot of stardom for hopeless hoosegow inmates

August 8, 2010

Good news for the inmates of America’s privately-owned prison-industrial complex: your life may have been ruined by the War on Drugs, but there’s still a place for you in the warm glow of the stage lights. Yes, you too can temporarily trade your orange jumpsuit for tap shoes and a sequined jacket. The cable network Investigation Discovery has announced the development of a new reality show called “Talent Behind Bars,” inspired by American Idol.

Discovery President Henry Schleiff is quoted by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine as saying ‘The essence of the show is to highlight people who have been convicted of non-violent crimes and misdemeanors … it’s a chance for maybe a little bit of redemption.” A sister program is also being developed by Discovery called “Dancing Behind Bars,” modeled after ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars.”

The US has the world’s largest prison population per capita, and the vast majority of inmates are non-violent drug offenders. They typically have trouble obtaining things like work, shelter, and credit after their incarceration, which may make the allure of instant riches through superstardom all that more appealing.

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