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How Much Do Participants Of 60 Days In Get Paid?

60 Days In is a reality television show that follows volunteers who go undercover as inmates in jails for 60 days. The show is known for its unflinching look at the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by inmates.

One of the most common questions about the show is how much the participants get paid. 

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While the producers of the show have never publicly disclosed the amount, it is estimated that participants are paid around $3,000 per episode.

While this may seem like a lot of money for a two-month stint in jail, it is important to remember that the participants are putting themselves at risk. They are subject to the same dangers and hardships as other inmates, and they may even be targeted by other inmates who know that they are on the show.

Despite the risks, many people are drawn to the opportunity to participate in 60 Days In. They see it as a chance to make a difference by exposing the realities of life in jail and advocating for change.

How Much Do Participants On 60 Days In Get Paid?

60 Days In is a popular documentary series on A&E that follows civilians as they go undercover in jails across the United States for 60 days. The participants on the show take on assumed identities and poses as inmates to provide insight into what life is really like behind bars.

Naturally, many viewers wonder if the participants receive any compensation for taking on such a dangerous assignment.

According to various reports, participants on 60 Days In do receive a small stipend for their time on the show. The exact amount they make is not publicly disclosed, but it is likely in the range of a few thousand dollars.

This stipend helps cover any incidental expenses the participants incur while incarcerated, as well as compensate them for their time and the risks involved.

It’s important to note that financial compensation is not the primary motivation for most 60 Days In participants. Many do it to raise awareness of problems in the criminal justice system or to better understand a family member’s incarceration.

Others see it as a personal challenge or a way to further their career in law enforcement or corrections. The stipend is viewed more as a token of appreciation rather than significant payment.

While the participants are paid something, the amount is modest compared to many other reality shows.

Shows like Survivor or Big Brother pay contestants upwards of $1,000 per week. But on 60 Days In, participants are living in dangerous, stressful conditions, not staying in a television set. Any payment is likely more of a stipend than a full compensation.

In the end, viewers tune in to 60 Days In to see average people placed in extraordinary circumstances within the prison system. The participants are not motivated by getting rich from the show, but by a desire to spread awareness and enact change.

The modest stipend they receive allows them to recoup some costs but is secondary to their main purpose on the program.

What Are The Risks Of Participating In 60 Days In?

Physical And Emotional Harm

Participating in 60 Days In poses significant risks of physical and emotional harm to the volunteers who go undercover in jails. Inmates can be violent and unpredictable.

Fights, assaults, and abuse happen frequently behind bars. Volunteers could get caught in the crossfire and suffer injuries.

The crowded and unsanitary conditions also increase the chance of contracting illnesses. Mentally, volunteers may develop PTSD, anxiety, or depression. Being enclosed with criminals in a hostile environment takes a huge psychological toll.

Physical And Emotional Harm

Social Isolation

To maintain their cover identities, participants on 60 Days In have to cut off contact with loved ones for the duration of filming. Not being able to communicate with family and friends for an extended period can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Volunteers are truly on their own in a dangerous new world. The lack of outside emotional support networks makes the experience even more challenging.

Loss Of Privacy

There is almost no privacy in jail. Volunteers are under constant surveillance and supervision by guards and inmates. They have to sleep, shower, and use the bathroom in full view of others.

This loss of privacy for two months requires major mental adjustment. Participants also have no control over how they will be portrayed on the show, which is seen by millions of viewers nationwide.

Targeting By Other Inmates

If participants’ real identities are revealed, they could be targeted by inmates seeking retaliation or testing their toughness. Newcomers and suspected informants are especially vulnerable.

Even without blown cover stories, volunteers still face discrimination as outsiders trying to fit into jail social hierarchies. Gangs may pressure participants to join for protection. Carefully maintaining facades is crucial to avoiding these dangers.

Why Do People Participate In 60 Days In?

To Make A Difference

Many participants choose to go undercover in 60 Days In because they want to create positive change in the criminal justice system. These individuals hope that by exposing problems within jails, they can advocate for reforms and improvements.

According to Sheriff Jamey Noel, some volunteers see participating as their “civic duty” to better understand incarceration and make a difference. They aim to give inmates a voice and shed light on issues affecting those behind bars.

To Advocate For Change

Along with wanting to create change, some participants join 60 Days In specifically to advocate for reforms. After experiencing jail conditions firsthand, they plan to campaign for better treatment of inmates, more rehabilitation programs, and policy changes.

Their time undercover gives them unique insight and credibility to push for improvements. As participant Brian said, “I hope to use my experience to advocate for more mental health resources for inmates”.

To Gain A Better Understanding Of The Criminal Justice System

Many participants see joining 60 Days In as an unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into how jails operate and see the criminal justice system from a new perspective. The volunteers, which have included teachers, social workers, and students, aim to develop a fuller understanding of incarceration.

Robert, for example, joined because he wanted to learn more about “the real experience inmates face” to improve his work with previously incarcerated individuals.

Criminal Justice System

To Challenge Themselves

Some participants are motivated to join 60 Days In by the challenge of going undercover in an unfamiliar, intense environment. They aim to push themselves mentally and physically by taking on this immersive, secretive experience.

As participant Zac explained, “I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could handle being in jail.” For these individuals, facing the unknown and overcoming difficult conditions provides personal fulfillment.

Ultimately, people volunteer for 60 Days In for a mix of reasons – from creating change to pursuing self-discovery. Their diverse motivations provide insights that can hopefully spark reforms and improve the criminal justice system.

What Are Some Tips For Staying Safe On 60 Days In?

Participating in the 60 Days In program can be an intense and potentially dangerous experience. While inmates agree to the risks involved, there are several strategies they can use to try to stay safe during their time behind bars.

Following these tips can help minimize conflicts and avoid volatile situations.

Keep Your Mouth Shut

One of the best things participants can do is avoid drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. It’s important not to pry into other inmates’ business or talk about their crimes.

The less participants say about their own situation the better. Anything they say can and will be used against them. Keeping quiet and inconspicuous makes them less of a target.

Avoid Getting Involved In Gang Activity

Gangs are a big part of prison culture and dynamics. Participants should steer clear of gang members and avoid doing anything that could be perceived as disrespect.

They don’t want to do anything that could spark retaliation. It’s critical to just mind their own business.

Be Respectful Of Other Inmates

Being polite, respectful, and using common courtesy goes a long way behind bars. Participants should address others with kindness and avoid insults or judgment.

Something as small as bumping into someone without apologizing could be seen as disrespect. Keeping cool and avoiding fights is key.

Stay Out Of Trouble

Causing problems or breaking rules will only make participants a target. They should keep their heads down, follow orders, and avoid doing anything illegal or prohibited.

The phrase “you do your time, don’t let your time do you” is a good motto. Stay in good graces with guards too.

With these tips in mind, 60 Days In participants will be better prepared to handle the realities of life as an inmate. While there are no guarantees, having the right mentality and approach can help participants stay under the radar and avoid unsafe situations behind bars.

Stay Out Of Trouble


60 Days In is a unique and challenging reality show that provides a glimpse into the lives of inmates.

While the participants are paid for their participation, the risks are real.

However, many people are drawn to the show by the opportunity to make a difference and advocate for change.

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