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Netflix viewers praise new series of real-life social experiment as 'best doc they have ever released'

Netflix viewers praise new series of real-life social experiment as 'best doc they have ever released'

"Hope there will be a second season!"

Netflix viewers have been heaping praise upon a new series that focuses on an absolutely wild social experiment, and many can't believe it's real.

Netflix long reigns as the King of docu-series, and this one certainly adds to the streaming giant's golden track record.

Titled Unlocked: A Jail Experiment, the docuseries manages to bring a TV crew into the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, following a group of detainees who were given unprecedented freedom and authority over their unit, Block H.

Consisting of eight episodes, the series is the brainchild of Sheriff Eric Higgins, a Democrat who supports prison reform and rehabilitative programmes for inmates.

His aim was to improve the way the facility is run, whilst empowering inmates and holding them accountable for their actions.

The ambitious idea was implemented over a period of six weeks in 2023.

That's when the deputies were removed from the unit, with the intention to give detainees more control over their daily routines, hoping this would eventually lead to a more community-oriented approach to life in prison.

Netflix viewers are impressed with Unlocked: A Jail Experiment.

In addition to moving the deputy station out of the unit, the staff installed monitors to ensure outside supervision and safety.

Meanwhile, the men who chose to participate were also briefed about taking part in a docuseries, with those accused or previously convicted of sexual violence excluded from the project.

Speaking about the series, Higgins insisted that the goal was also to discourage people from re-offending.

In order to ensure this, the experiment entailed a tier-based structure mirrored after a re-entry unit elsewhere in the facility. According to this system, detainees who demonstrated consistent good behaviour would receive more benefits.

"They stepped up. They recognized that they can improve their environment. And the majority of the people in the unit did the right thing from Day 1," Higgins shared with Tudum.

The series documented both the positive and negative experiences for inmates involved in the project, with viewers responding well and contributing making Unlocked Number 2 in Netflix's Top 10 after just one week on the streaming platform.

"Unlocked: a jail experiment on netflix is one of the best docus they have ever released," one person noted on X.

Fans are calling for a second season.

"That was an effing good show, Netflix! Hope there will be a second season!" another fan of Unlocked wrote. "I hope that the ex-inmates stay focus and on the road."

While some have voiced their shock at the revelations the inmates made about their backstories prior to serving time, more and more people are asking for a second instalment of Unlocked, proving that Higgins' novel experiment doesn't just give more power to the inmates, but also makes for compelling TV and helps challenge prejudices.

"In this country, we have a certain perception of someone who goes to jail — the assumption being that they’re guilty," Higgins said.

"But they deserve dignity. These individuals, they're fathers, they're uncles, they're sons. People care about them… they're not just a number. I believe that if you treat people right, and you hold them accountable… I think they take that with them when they walk out of this facility. I think we have proven that people will rise to the expectation."

Unlocked: A Jail Experiment is streaming now on Netflix.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix