JEFFERSONVILLE — The penultimate episode of A&E's "60 Days In" says goodbye to three of the remaining seven participants who went undercover in the Clark County jail for two months.
But for the ones who remain, their last few days are proving difficult as they navigate new realities inside the jail. The women in F-pod try to come to terms with an inmate accused of the unthinkable. Meanwhile, Ryan tries to balance business with compassion for the sake of an inmate.
Here are the top three takeaways from episode 11, "Blood, Sweat and Tears":
'I MISS MYSELF'
None of the show participants know exactly when they'll hear a corrections officer call their name to be booked out of the Clark County jail. Dion, Quintin and Monalisa are all pleasantly surprised when they finally do.
Producers meet the participants outside of the jail and take them to a nearby hotel. On the way, Monalisa's hands are visibly shaking as she realizes she's finally free again. Inevitably, she starts thinking about her daughter who is incarcerated.
“That was one hell of an experience," Monalisa tells producers. "I can't imagine someone doing it for 10 years.”
Dion falls onto a plush mattress in a hotel room and cuddles up with a pillow, a luxury he didn't have in jail. No longer an undercover inmate with a cover story, Dion starts feeling like himself again.
"I don't want to be anybody else, I just want to be Dion," he says. "I miss myself, like I miss being me."
Viewers watch as Dion and Quintin go through exit interviews with Sheriff Jamey Noel, Capt. Scottie Maples and Indiana University Southeast Criminal Justice Professor Jennifer Ortiz.
Quintin tells them the pod was like "manufactured chaos" and says there's a lack of professionalism and respect among the corrections officers. He also alludes to poor communication during "sewage gate" when pods overflowed with sewage and the water had to be turned off for more than 30 hours.
"I think Quintin truly cares," Noel says. "And I'll be honest with you, I didn't want everybody sugar coating everything."
Dion explains that inmates control the cell with the dayroom bathroom, which is supposed to be open for the inmates bunked in the common area where there is no bathroom. He suggests leaving the dayroom bathroom cell empty, instead of housing inmates in the cell.
NOT IN MY POD
The women struggle with Damaris, a new inmate booked into the pod and charged with neglect of a child resulting in injury. The inmates, many of whom have their own children, get upset that they have to share a pod with Damaris. Ashleigh, an undercover inmate and mother, seems to be the most troubled.
"It just makes me sick to think about it," she tells producers. “We're not going to have that in here."
Some of the inmates agree that something should be done, though it isn't clear exactly what. Monalisa steps in to help Damaris, saying that it isn't up to the other women to judge her.
"I was sadly disappointed in Ashleigh's behavior because it's not our job to bring real trouble to the pod, and to me that was bringing real trouble to the pod,” Monalisa says.
Monalisa takes Damaris aside to tell her the inmates have serious questions about her charge. When Damaris gets emotional and declines to talk to the other inmates, Monalisa suggests that she ask a corrections officer to be removed from the pod for her safety. But when Damaris tries to do just that, a group of inmates unexpectedly summons Damaris to a cell and offers to become Damaris' protector. Ashleigh is stunned.
"It changed so fast," she says. "I mean everything was completely different. Now everyone was helping this girl. It was over the top”
Sheri, a former corrections officer, is just as perplexed. She suspects the inmates protecting Damaris want to avoid calling corrections staff to the pod, possibly because they're operating an illegal drug trade. Sheri vows to find out more.
A DEBT HAS TO BE PAID
Ryan has been running an illegal commissary store inside the pod. One of his customers, Justin, owes a debt to another inmate named JoJo. Justin is considered indigent and depends on borrowing to get commissary. As viewers have seen and heard before, an unpaid debt often results in violence.
In an attempt to avoid the consequences, Justin presses the call button for a corrections officer. But without a valid reason for being transferred, the officer denies Justin's request to be taken out of the pod.
"By pressing that button and not leaving, now he's in more trouble than he was before," Ryan says.
JoJo harasses Justin more and more over the debt, calling him obscenities and telling him to get ready to fight, but Justin refuses to engage. Ryan considers JoJo's threats bullying and starts to entertain the thought of stepping in. Ryan has plenty of commissary to get Justin out of debt.
"I could help Justin get out of debt, but would that make me a target simply by getting involved?" he asks.
The "60 Days In" finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m.