When Season 1 of Girls Incarcerated premiered last March on Netflix, viewers were introduced to the young girls living in the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana.
After the Indiana Department of Corrections shut down Madison to expand the adult prison next door, the second season of the Netflix docu-series was moved to the LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facility, where Superintendent Galipeau had also transferred.
Now, the new facility is much smaller — the girls do not have individual cells and sleep in bunk beds all together — which means a lot more drama and conflict for cameras to capture.
According to executive producer Jordana Hochman, who spoke exclusively with Distractify, despite the new location, the girls in both seasons are very similar.
"They all have tough exteriors because that’s how they’ve learned to protect themselves, but when you get to know them you see how vulnerable they are and how they long for love and stability," Jordana told Distractify of the teens featured on Girls Incarcerated. "More than anything I would say they are what you would expect from teenage girls – they are spirited, complicated, and totally unfiltered. They’ll have you laughing one minute, crying the next."
Like student Jesse Rose.
In the very first episode of Season 2, viewers are introduced to 16-year-old Jesse Rose, who was three months away from her release.
It was clear from the very beginning that she was not making friends among her fellow inmates. "Oh my god, Rose is probably my least favorite person in this entire facility," one student said on the show before another added, "She has an attitude and is disrespectful."
Even Rose told cameras, "I ain't got no friends," when asked about her time behind bars. It was soon revealed that Rose's dad has been in prison since she was 7 years old, and she has a long rap sheet too, including charges of robbery, hit-and-run, and driving without a license.
"Her father is serving a very lengthy prison sentence and her mother was about to be incarcerated as well. This made Rose’s future even more uncertain," Jordana said of filming Rose. "She didn’t necessarily open up as easily as the others, but when you understand what she’s dealing with at home it helps put her disruptive behavior in context and you have to feel for her."
Hannah Aberegg and Zarriah Thomas also stood out for Jordana.
Aberegg, 18, has been arrested seven times — battery of a police officer, criminal mischief — and she admits she has "bad anger issues." Her mom walked out on the family when she was young and Aberegg was placed in a group home and started doing drugs at 13. She was also gang raped when she was 16 years old, which forced her to run away and work as a prostitute.
"Student Aberegg is one that stands out to me personally because her backstory is so heartbreaking. As a minor she’s had to face addiction, assault, prostitution, and abandonment," Jordana shared. "I found myself really invested and rooting to see her succeed. But this is also the case with all of the girls featured on the show."
As for 14-year-old Thomas, who was also abandoned by her mother, Jordana was inspired by her maturity and her insightfulness.
"Towards the end of filming when we asked how she’d like the world to see her, she answered 'as a work in progress,'" Jordana added. "That really landed for me.These girls are just trying to figure themselves out; their crimes and difficult pasts don’t have to define them."
Where are the Girls Incarcerated Season 2 girls now?
Unfortunately, Jordana confirmed that producers do not keep in touch with the students or their families after filming wraps, but she hopes that does not stop people from streaming the show.
"For me, one of the most positive things about Girls Incarcerated is the fact that it gives a marginalized group of young women a platform and chance to be heard," Jordana explained. "I love that this series allows them to tell their stories, to be validated, and represented. My biggest hope is that they gain some power and confidence from being in the spotlight and that it helps propel them to a better future."
As for a Season 3, Jordana would "love this show to keep going as we think these are important stories to share."
We couldn't agree more. Watch Girls Incarcerated on Netflix now.