Of solitary confinement. It’s one of those things that many people are interested in, but only from outside. Nobody wants to go through it in real life. We all enjoy a strong prison film or television series. There are a lot of great choices out there, from those that depict life on the inside to daring jail escapes. Here’s a list of best prison movies on Netflix; some series are also included – bonus!
Release date: June 1, 2020
Riot is a feature-length film in which law enforcement officer Jack Stone plans a bank robbery on a bank owned by the Russian mob so that he can be imprisoned with a notorious Russian kingpin who has ruined his life. Riot isn’t a particularly good film, but it does star Dolph Lundgren and former MMA fighter Chuck Liddell and features a lot of violence (obviously including those two), female prison protests, and other stuff. It’s 87 minutes long, but with all the action, it’ll fly by, and there’s a nice twist or two. It’s one of the best prison movies on Netflix right now.
Release date: September 6, 2019
The Platform is a Netflix Original that depicts a dystopian future prison in which inmates are imprisoned in vertical cells. Food rains down from above, and those at the top have plenty, while those below are hungry and hopeless. It’s twisted and gritty, and it’s available in Spanish with English subtitles or translated into English and other languages outside of Spain. Put your seatbelts on for about 90 minutes of this dark thriller and one of best Netflix prison movies.
First and Last
Release date: September 7, 2018
The first several days of new inmates and the final days of those being released at Georgia’s Gwinnett County Jail are documented in this series. It’s an intriguing and emotional look at what is always an inmate’s worst and best day, as well as how being in prison will change you. The first season consists of six episodes.
Release date: June 16, 2017
Shot Caller is a more fantasy movie, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau playing Jacob Harlon, a California stockbroker who is well-known from his time on Game of Thrones. Following his lawyer’s advice, Harlon is sentenced to jail for a negotiated 16-month term after a tragic DUI crash. He becomes connected with a militant white supremacist gang while imprisoned. The twist is that Harlon is held in jail for much longer due to prison brutality, and he descends into a life of crime. It’s not exactly a fresh tale, but it’s fast-paced, if not downright frightening, particularly in these times. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Netflix prison movies available.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons
Release date: April 12, 2016
This Netflix prison series has a self-explanatory title. The series, directed by Paul Connolly (season 1) and Raphael Rowe (seasons 2, 3, and 4), investigates some of the world’s most dangerous jails, as well as a number of pretty nice ones. The hosts volunteer to be prisoners in these jails in order to have a firsthand look at what it’s like inside. Being in jail is never fun, but this series shows how much worse it can be for some individuals.
60 Days In
Release date: March 10, 2016
For its main characters, this documentary series could be one of the most terrifying. People who are not offenders volunteer to go undercover in a jail for 60 days with the help of the local sheriff. The theory is that these people would be able to uncover illicit and unethical acts by both prisoners and corrections officers that would otherwise go undetected. Season 5 of this series, which takes place at the Pinal County Jail in Florence, Arizona, is available on Netflix.
Release date: September 30, 2016
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution repeals slavery, but with a caveat of using it as a form of punishment for crime. Cut to the grim reality of mass incarceration and the modern-day prison industry. This groundbreaking documentary, directed by Ava DuVernay, presents a diverse group of academics, activists, and policymakers as they examine the realities of America’s justice system. It’s not an easy film to watch, but it’s one that everybody should see. It’s one of the best prison movies on Netflix right now.
The Fear of 13
Release date: August 4, 2015
The Fear of 13 is one of the best documentaries on Netflix that tells the story of Nick Yarris, who was unjustly accused of murder and spent 22 years on death row. After DNA evidence helped reverse his conviction, he was freed in 2004. While we know how the story ends, this documentary is full of surprises as it discusses various events in his life. It’s another of best prison movies of all time.
Orange is the New Black
Release date: July 11, 2013
Orange is the New Black is a Netflix prison series that must be included on every list of Netflix prison series. The plot circles around Piper Chapman, who is punished to 15 months in a limited security prison based on Piper Kerman’s memoir. Although the show is still centered on Piper, it has evolved into a beast, fueled by award-winning appearances from its talented cast. The series is now complete after seven seasons, so go catch up on all of your favorite episodes.
Release date: May 1, 2013
It’s quick to ignore Wentworth as Australia’s version of Orange is the New Black (many have done so). However, the only similarity is that both feature women in jail. Wentworth is a much darker, gritty depiction of life in a female maximum security prison. The plot follows Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack), who is imprisoned for attempted murder and tracks her battle for survival. The show is currently available on Netflix in seven seasons. The series has already been renewed for an eighth season.