The subject of “The Program: Prison Detox,” a docuseries premiering next month on Discovery Plus, is a thoughtful, effective drug rehabilitation program in Sevier County, Arkansas that’s been created by law enforcement officials in response to the methamphetamine and opioid epidemic that has destroyed so many lives in their community. The first three episodes in the seven-episode series will debut on Aug. 25, and will then roll out weekly.
“The Program: Prison Detox,” which was shot during the COVID-19 pandemic, follows the 14th class of the inventive program designed to help drug felons — some of whom are habitual, and have been in jail multiple times — turn their lives around. Many of the 16 participants featured in the series are facing steep prison sentences if they don’t make it into in the program, which was created by Sevier County’s sheriff, Robert Gentry, and Chris Wolcott, the jail administrator. But if they are chosen for the 90-day program, which is arduous and demanding, they will be free. The show follows the program’s participants, who are called trustees, as well as Gentry, Wolcott and drug counselor Lynette Gilmore
Today, Discovery Plus unveiled the show’s first trailer.
Gentry grew up in the county, and compares it to “The Andy Griffith Show’s” Mayberry — until, that is, drugs infiltrated it, turning so many of Sevier’s population into addicts. When he became sheriff, he says, he knew simply arresting people wasn’t a solution, and he and Wolcott came up with the program.
“The Program” is a fascinating look at a possible route — one focused on rehabilitation, not punishment — for people who are addicted to drugs. The program itself has a 72% success rate, and its standards are rigorous. Nor is it easy to get into it in the first place: The first episode introduces the applicants; and, heartbreakingly, not everyone is deemed to be a good enough candidate. Wolcott works with the district attorney and a panel of other advisers to figure out who will best be served by the program’s methods of hard work — they’re still in the prison, but away from the general population — and challenging therapeutic methods. The goal, after all, is to change the trustees’ lives forever, and to pave the way for them to succeed once they’re free.
“The Program” is produced for Discovery Plus by Big City TV, part of The Content Group.