Nigerian Teenager Turns His Life Around Spending A Week In US Prison (Photos)
A petty criminal and drug dealer was set on a dangerous, deadly path – until a short spell inside made the 17-year-old change his ways. The Nigerian identified as Korede Akintunde was not jailed for any crimes, but for a life-changing TV experiment.
Korede was picked along with seven other British tearaways to take part in Channel 4’s Banged Up: Teens Behind Bars, which starts Monday night.
The eight teens spent a week banged up in one of America’s toughest maximum security prisons, where they were subjected to a harsh daily regime alongside real inmates.
They were made to work on chain gangs, shouted at, threatened, belittled, humiliated and treated with contempt. They were referred to only by their prison numbers, never their names, and forced to wear a matching hooped uniform.
The onslaught was so tough that within that week, Korede resolved to change his future. And since his time in the Florida jail last November he has turned his life around.
Korede, from East London, believes that without the experience his life, like those of many other urban youngsters, would have spiralled out of control.
He says: “I’d never go back to my old ways. Hard work pays off and I know that now. I don’t need to steal a bike because I can buy one.”
He was only 14 when he started selling weed. Plenty of his peers did the same so when it soon progressed to heroin, crack and cocaine he barely batted an eyelid.
Korede says: “I didn’t just sell drugs, I did loads of things to make money.”
Ian Dunkley, Commissioning Editor of Factual Entertainment at Channel 4, says: “The series poses an intriguing question. At a time when knife crime and youth offending in the UK is on the rise, could exposing wayward teens to the harsh reality of prison life act as a deterrent to them spending a life behind bars?”
For Korede, who has returned to his dreams of a football career, it certainly has.