Connect with us

Local News

A legal dispute is escalating around a Netflix series that features Pulaski County Jail



Pulaski County, Arkansas – A Netflix documentary series that was shot inside the Pulaski County jail is garnering a lot of interest. It’s causing some debate as well.

“Unlocked: A Jail Experiment,” is set to debut April 10, but now the legality of the series is being questioned.

The county judge and other county authorities were taken aback when the trailer, which was shot in the jail last year, was released only last week.

The goal of the trial, according to Sheriff Eric Higgins, was to find ways to make jails better.

“We’ve seen some things that are positive that we can implement,” Higgins said.

Since the release of the teaser last week, Judge Barry Hyde claims that the public has expressed reservations about this.

“People are very upset because they believe this is the next installment of gang banging in Little Rock which was probably the worst PR for central Arkansas ever,” Hyde said.

The documentary series investigates the consequences of granting prisoners greater freedom as opposed to keeping them under strict control.

Judge Barry Hyde of Pulaski County said there were talks of a film crew arriving in late 2021 or early 2022, but until last week, he was unaware that the crew had already completed filming the docuseries.

“The attorney’s office had about a thousand questions and cautions and advised that this wasn’t a good idea,” Hyde said.

Since only the county judge is authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the county, the judge claims that if Pulaski County Sheriff Eric Higgins signed a contract with Lucky 8 Production—the film crew that shot the docuseries—he was acting illegally. However, Sheriff Higgins disputes this claim, claiming that he has control over who enters and exits the jail.

“I recognize I can’t sign a contract, what we did was a location release, and we looked at it as a memorandum of understanding,” Higgins said.

According to the sheriff, the location release allowed him to watch the footage and remove any anything he wished. The docuseries is still scheduled to run, as far as Sheriff Higgins is aware.
About the legal action, the judge stated that he is currently compiling the evidence.

“I’m not going to automatically assume that the sheriff was up to no good,” Hyde said.

Sheriff Higgins affirms that he is sticking with his choice to allow the film crew inside and adds that even if the trailer portrays the show negatively, he has watched it and advises everyone to watch it through.

“We always have concerns but I think at the end of the day, I think it was the right thing to do,” Higgins said.

This included money in some way. According to the sheriff, the crew received $1000 per day for their filming. He states that the county general fund will receive the funds. Although the check has not arrived yet, the sheriff says she expects it within the next week.

In 2022, Pulaski County attorney Adam Fogleman attempted to negotiate a deal with the producers, but the talks broke down.

He claims that the sheriff’s agreement later constituted a conflict of interest, alerting the county judge and the sheriff that they might need to hire outside counsel if this case gets to court.
The links to his emails to the county attorney’s judge and the sheriff are provided below.
It was Higgins who signed the Location Release.
Additionally, prosecuting attorney Will Jone issued the following statement:

“Our office values its partnership with every law enforcement agency. Like many other Arkansans, we were unaware of any video production inside the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility. We are in the process of requesting and reviewing information about the production.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *