TV TV Reviews

Review | Girls Incarcerated (2018)

Girls Incarcerated - Netflix Original - Docuseries - Review


Netflix Original docuseries Girls Incarcerated, follows the lives of some of America’s youngest female offenders as they adapt to life incarcerated. Set in a female juvenile correctional facility in Madison, Netflix capture the ups and downs of prison life and shines a light on the positive changes that can result from institutional programmes. Executive producers Nick Briggs and Stuart Cabb take us on a journey through the all too familiar teenage dramas starring some of Americas hardest youth. 

Girls Incarcerated is a coming-of-age documentary. We get to take a sneak peek into the world of teenage girls, which is, surprisingly, just how you would expect in any other environment. These girls seem to not be phased by their surroundings; still, they gossip, style each others hair and go to school. Not unlike the typical teenage life, it is pleasing to see how the correctional officers treat the young inmates as pupils, and as teenagers. After seeing other Netflix Original docuseries’, coming into Girls Incarcerated, I held the view that most, if not all of America’s correctional facilities would be cold and unassuming environments. This may be thanks to simply too many adult documentaries that represent prisons as harsh and bleak places, created to punish rather than reform. 

 Girls Incarcerated works to expose the actualities of a juvenile correctional facility. Of course, the facility comes with its many rules: no contraband, no sharing commissary, and no physical relations. All of these things, found in prisons and adult facilities too, and surprisingly punishments such as solitary confinement, although with a more friendly name (M.A.C – Making A Change), still make their way into the girl’s routines. Even so, the Madison facility is a place of refuge for most girls, a nurturing environment with order and routine. Girls Incarcerated focuses on the good and illustrates the positives of reformation. Most girls are incarcerated without an end date and instead have to aim to complete an institutional course. The course includes work on social issues, drug use and categories of education that they can apply to life outside of the facility. This approach provides the inmates with goals and delivers them with minute successes that feed their desire to be their better self.

The stars of Girls Incarcerated are of course the inmates, a group of loud and rambunctious young ladies all lending their unique attributes to create a fascinating internal community. Following the inmates’ drama and gossip may appeal to a teenage audience, serious topics are brushed upon, but the heart of the docuseries is in the relations between inmates. We are privy to all disputes and quarrels, but most importantly we are given personal recounts from each inmate. Thus allowing us to see the real individuals behind the characters they try to display on a daily basis. This leads to touching moments of honesty and heartbreaking confessions of guilt and the desire to improve. 

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Overall Girls Incarcerated is a unique look into life in prison from a juvenile’s perspective. The docuseries allows us to see the girls vulnerabilities and understand that they are all just normal teenagers who have made wrong decisions. Honestly, I was not overwhelmed by the series but could easily see how it will appeal to many. Young people alike, and possibly fans of Netflix’s own Orange is the New Black should switch over to see the true dramas of a female institute. To conclude, it is a marvelous thing to see some of the inmates reform into upstanding citizens, and it’s positively heartwarming knowing the good that the institutions do to give young people a second chance. An honest look at how the girls talk about their dreams, ambitions and genuinely yearn to change for the better.


31 comments on “Review | Girls Incarcerated (2018)

  1. The young lady little pollard I would love to be her mentor

    • Me too. She deserves a good home, there has to be some way to get her out. Some of these girls break my heart. Especially pollard

    • I have been trying my best to find out what happened to Pollard. I would so open up my home to her. She deserves better.

      • Yes, I am wondering too cause I swear I was thinking the same thing.. I really would open my home to her too..

      • Kamesha Stevens

        Contact the facility itself. I’m sure they can tell you!!

      • Minnick, the former counselor, tweeted that she is tired of people messaging her asking about adopting her as there are thousands of “Pollards” in the system and to call your local agency to help your town’s “Pollard.” She’s right. Also, this facility was shut down in October due to only having 40 girls instead of 200 as they had originally. The girls were moved to a boot camp.

  2. heather guidi

    Every one of the guards are totally obese. why o why?

  3. I enjoyed this show a lot ! hopefully pollard will get out soon. The show was very informative and inspiring. Hope there’s going to be a season 2.🙂

    • This facility was shut down in October due to only having 40 girls instead of 200 as they had originally. The girls were moved to a boot camp so no season 2.

  4. I would take pollard and adopt her….that poor baby!

  5. I just googled to find out about Pollard as well. There has got to be away to help her. She does not need to be in the system. It is only going to make her an angry adult! She needs love!!

    • Honestly if anybody can find out what has or is happening to Pollard and post it here I would greatly appreciate it. I can’t stop thinking about this young lady, and if there is anything I can do to help I would really like to do so. No child should be left like that.

      • I just saw on another article that she did eventually get released. The author of the article advised that she wanted viewers to call their local agencies to foster/adopt/mentor teen girls who need a family in the various cities of the viewers.

      • Vashti Brown

        Ok did she get released to her family or to the state, can you post the article link?

      • Savannah Young

        The psychiatrist from the show says on her twitter she was released and says before the show Pollard was just a facelesschild in the system who needed help and thereare hundreds mite like her who need help and recommends calling your local agency to help one of those children

      • Jamie Carter

        Minnik said on twitter she was released

  6. It’s inspiring to see everyone rallying in this thread to help someone out. This is why we don’t turn the comments off. I hope something positive comes of it.

  7. That’s exactly why I went looking online to find out what happened to her. I can’t believe they would make someone stay in juvenile detention simply because she doesn’t have a home to go to. Isn’t that what the foster care system is for? I would definitely volunteer to bring her into my home.

    • Sometimes, girls end up in facilities like these because of atrocities they’ve endured while going through the foster care system. Once you’re in, that’s it & there’s no guarantee she would go to a good home with a loving family. At least here, they can minimize bad outside influences and hopefully keep her away from abuse while still providing positive reinforcements.

  8. I’m so happy there are a lot of people wanting to know what happened to Pollard and if there is a way for us to help her. It just breaks my heart. We all care for you Pollard!! She definitely seems like a good person.

  9. i finished watching this today and would like to know how all the girls are doing on the outside and what happened to pollard i felt for her she had the hardest time of all the girl but larkin was my fave loved her personality

  10. Robyn Cusato

    I really liked this show a lot but must admit I cried several times throughout. I would also be willing to help out little Najwa Pollard. Her parents should be ashamed that they left their baby like a stray cat at the pound. Twine broke my heart also. Actually they all did! Only one of the girls had me wanting to slap her a time or 2 and then I had to remember that I’m an adult and these are troubled kids. What can we do to help that poor kid?

  11. Really enjoying the series!! Makes me appreciate the little things and like everyone else I have a soft spot for Pollard <3

    One thing stood out though… everyone is grossly overweight? Inmates and Guards…. Why is everyone so fat?

  12. Minnick, the former counselor, tweeted that she is tired of people messaging her asking about adopting Pollard as there are thousands of “Pollards” in the system and to call your local agency to help your town’s “Pollard.” She’s right. Also, this facility was shut down in October due to only having 40 girls instead of 200 as they had originally. The girls were moved to a boot camp.

  13. Like a car crash, had to keep watching but ugh, what a waste of time.

  14. Why isnt anyone asking wth happened to Paige McAfee?? Does anyone know what happened to her after the show?

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