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New toilet, who dis? Netflix series shows inmates ‘toilet talking’ in Sacramento jail

Netflix series ‘Jailbirds’ official trailer

Love, hate, betrayal -- the drama never ends for both first-time and veteran inmates trying to survive behind bars at the Sacramento County Jail.
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Love, hate, betrayal -- the drama never ends for both first-time and veteran inmates trying to survive behind bars at the Sacramento County Jail.

In what sometimes can be a “very mysterious place,” Netflix’s new series “Jailbirds” debuted Friday, offering a look into the lives of Sacramento County Main Jail inmates.

The six-episode series, which bills itself as a docuseries, follows the lives of women housed in the jail as they wait for their court dates or sentencing. The women featured in the series are incarcerated for felonies ranging from carjacking, armed robbery and pimping and pandering.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Sgt. Tess Deterding said the series “really started to look like an opportunity to showcase the services we have going on,” such as vocational and educational programs and other resources like drug treatment.

“The idea was to showcase and highlight the conditions in which deputies work in the jail,” she added.

The series, described on Netflix as gritty, shows inmates “toilet talking” in which inmates talk into their toilets to communicate with inmates on other floors.

“I be talking on the toilet,” said Najla Jones, a female inmate nicknamed “Noonie” in the show. “It’s fun. It’s better talking to the boys than these raggedy-a-- girls all the time.”

Inmates are also shown making alcohol called “pruno” from fruit in their meals.

In the show, Noonie is shown peeling oranges from her lunch tray and putting the slices in a plastic bag with warm water to make the alcoholic beverage. Noonie said that she leaves the bag for about a week and then it’s ready to drink.

Deputies later find the alcohol in a cell search..

“I’m sure they’ve dramatized some of it, but some of the things that happen certainly happen, like the toilet talking and the fishing, we’re familiar with that,” Deterding said.

Producers from 44 Blue Productions, the creators of “LockUp” and “Nightwatch Nation,” approached the department last spring with their idea for the show, though the company never said why they chose Sacramento, Deterding said. Sheriff Scott Jones approved the filming and negotiations began. Deputies had editorial input on what would be aired “especially in terms of security,” she said, and two members of the executive staff saw the series before its release.

“No money was exchanged on any level,” Deterding said of the arrangement with the producers.

Deterding said staff were happy with the series, saying it offered an “accurate portrayal of things that went on in the jail.”

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