This is a review of “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up,” TLC’s unscripted reality show about women at the Gwinnett County Jail. I decided to check this out when I could not find anything that I wanted to watch while eating dinner.
I figured, Alright, let’s watch this and see if it’s any good. “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up” runs for an hour, and during that hour, quite a few women inmates are followed. This show kept my interest and I ended up taping two more after watching one episode. You’ll meet the women of Cellblock 6, and some cases are very interesting.
If you’re hoping to see catfights between the inmates on “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up,” you’ll be disappointed. If you ever have to go to prison, hope it’s the Gwinnett County Jail, because everything is under tight wraps there. In fact, lesbian relationships are forbidden, and guards seem to be everywhere to make sure no fighting breaks out.
Though I’ve seen only three episodes of “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up,” the impression I got was that, unlike the dramatizations of female prisons on TV and in movies, at this facility, the women are quick to bond and be empathetic. One staff officer even said that women will know each other barely 10 minutes before braiding each other’s hair.
The only criticism I have of “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up,” is the frequent cymbal playing practically every time the show shifts to either a new inmate at intake, or another scene involving whichever inmate is currently being profiled. I’m serious. The sound of the cymbals rises climactically as though some big event is going to take place, and instead, we are taken to intake where a new inmate is simply being told how to position her body against a wall, or an inmate is shown smoking outside.
What’s with the climactic cymbals all the time? This is really annoying!
You’ll get a kick out of some of the things the women say about their lives. One woman was thrilled to be released and announced she had already had a job lined up, and had plans to go to college. She had been in for selling meth.
Two months later, she was back at the jail, and couldn’t understand why things “kept happening” to her. This time she was in for violating probation; “illegal prescription drugs” were found in her home. Well, I have an explanation for why, every time this woman starts “getting ahead,” as she explained, she gets “set back”: You keep breaking the law! Hellooo! What were you doing with illegal prescription drugs? Is it so hard to keep drugs out of your house? Geez.
The mug shots of all the profiled women are shown in “Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up.” The photos are against a height chart, but the top of every single woman’s photo aligns with about 5 feet six and a half inches. Thus, you know that this is just for layout; not their actual height. I noticed, though, that at intake, when the women are frisked, the female security officer just towers over every single one of them. That is one large female security officer.
One of the mug shots was of a woman who looked like you’d never want to meet up with her in a dark alley. This big woman looked MEAN, ready to take on a tank. Interestingly, her presentation as she spoke to the camera was that of a perfectly typical mother, with glasses and pretty hair, who was in for (if I recall correctly), embezzlement. Photos of her wedding, and of her with other family members, were shown. So don’t always judge a woman by her mug shot.
Many of the women who are shown being escorted to intake look rough and ready to pick a fight, but that’s just the way they appear. Upon speaking to the camera, they present as nervous, in disbelief that they’re at a prison, sometimes in tears, and one scruffy looking woman even said she feared getting beaten up.
Offenses range from a pregnant woman hitting a male coworker during an argument off to the side of the road after they began arguing in the car on the way to work, to a college student getting in a brawl with family members, to a college student getting into a fight at a party, to drug possession and dealing. One woman was in for armed robbery, another for participating in auto theft with an accomplice.
“Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up” follows the profiled women to their resolution, be it finally getting out of prison after spending some time there, or quickly getting out after bail is made. Many are young mothers, and what gets me is that they always talk about how much they miss their kids, yet at the same time, they won’t obey the law, which results in them being taken away from their kids! Many are repeat offenders!