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Channel 4 Specialist Factual have commissioned a 3x60 series Prison: Britain’s Criminal Past from Twenty Twenty Productions.

The series will uncover the fascinating history of prisons in the UK, bringing untold prisoners’ stories to light and revealing a detailed picture of society, crime and punishment in Britain across hundreds of years, right up to the present day.

Over the course of centuries, millions of people have been locked up in Britain’s jails and every prison cell has countless hidden stories to tell.

Through travelling the corridors, cells and long-abandoned spaces of a different prison in each episode, viewers will learn what life was, or still is, like there from the first-hand accounts of inmates stored in archives and expert interviewees, bringing to life criminals whose stories have often been long forgotten.

Prison: Britain’s Criminal Past will also address big questions that are still relevant today - what is the right age of criminal responsibility? Should women go to jail - even if they’re separated from their children? And ultimately, does prison actually work?

James O’Reilly Creative Director, Twenty Twenty said: “You can learn so much about a society by the way it treats its prisoners. Uncovering the hidden lives of inmates in Britain in this series will give us a fascinating insight into an alternative national history, told for the first time through the voices of those people on the wrong side of our prison walls”

Emily Shields, Commissioning Editor added: “Channel 4 are delighted to be working with the Twenty Twenty team in Bristol on Prison: Britain’s Criminal Past. The series promises to shed light on a host of untold stories, exploring our changing perspective on crime, justice and the very essence of what is right or wrong.”

More details will be announced in due course.


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