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New BBC Doc Sees Stacey Dooley Visit Controversial Women's Prison Where Inmates Are Allowed Pets And Relationships

New BBC Doc Sees Stacey Dooley Visit Controversial Women's Prison Where Inmates Are Allowed Pets And Relationships

A brand new Stacey Dooley documentary is just what we need during lockdown - and this one looks seriously gripping.

Stacey Dooley: Locked Up With The Lifers sees the 33-year-old presenter and journalist visiting a controversial women's prison in Iowa, which seeks to build a more humane environment for its inmates serving life sentences.

This means pets are permitted, prisoners can make phone calls whenever they like and relationships are allowed. Some of the women have been in relationships with each other for over 30 years.

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But the prison, which houses women serving life sentences without parole, has been criticised for its controversial approach by those who think the inmates should be treated more harshly.

Stacey visits the Iowa Correctional Institution (Credit: BBC)
Stacey visits the Iowa Correctional Institution (Credit: BBC)

A number of the women are serving sentences for harrowing crimes, such as murder, and many believe the privileges at the Iowa Correctional Institution aren't appropriate.

Stacey and the team follow inmate Judy White, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Judy recommended a hit man to a friend who wanted to kill her husband.

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Meanwhile, there's Helenea, Judy's partner. The pair have been in a relationship in prison for 30 years and are inseparable. However, they may soon be apart as pensioner Judy is now fighting for an early release.

The prison has been criticised for being too lenient (Credit: BBC)
The prison has been criticised for being too lenient (Credit: BBC)

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Stacey also meets and interviews prisoner, Barbara Pasa. Barbara is less than a week into her life sentence for allegedly murdering her husband after taking out a life insurance policy for him.

Barbara denies the harrowing crime and finding it hard to cope in the prison, feels very alone - made worse by the fact her children are no longer speaking to her.

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She isn't the only one having a difficult time. During her time in the facility, Stacey chats to Cheyanne who was found guilty of murdering her child following a period of neglect.

There is tension between Cheyanne and the other prisoners and she has found herself in a segregation unit after attacking another inmate.

The environment of the prison is often seen as too lenient - a topic Stacey raises with prison warden Sheryl Dahm.

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Although admitting she sometimes feels conflicted, Sheryl believes that in order to keep the inmates safe, there should be a supportive environment for them inside the prison.

It's set to be a fascinating watch *and* we don't have too long to wait, either. Stacey Dooley: Locked Up With The Lifers airs on Sunday 19th April at 9pm on BBC Two.

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Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: BBC, Stacey Dooley, TV News, TV Entertainment

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]