Inside The World's Toughest Prisons Season 6: Release Date, Cast, And New Details

The premise of hard-hitting docuseries "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" is pretty self-explanatory. Per Distractify, the show premiered on Channel 5 in the U.K. before being picked up by Netflix. Irish journalist Paul Connolly was the original host, but he's since been replaced by Rapahel Rowe, who was incarcerated himself and therefore has a more intimate connection with the material. There's no official word on why Connolly left, but it may have something to do with the move to Netflix.

Season 1 was, obviously, popular enough to catch the streaming giant's attention but there was a massive two-year break between its release and the sophomore season. However, "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" has followed up with additional seasons in quick succession, per IMDb. The seasons are generally short, just four episodes each, so fans of the show are naturally left wanting more after each one wraps up. Season 5 finished airing in early 2021 and was just three episodes in length, so already interest is high in Season 6. Here's everything we know about it thus far. 

When is Season 6 expected to air?

As Bullet News notes, the fifth season of "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" debuted on Netflix on January 8, 2021. It was just three episodes long, rather than the typical four, so anybody who binged them all in one go was left feeling somewhat unsatisfied. Season 6 hasn't been confirmed just yet. Netflix typically confirms renewals a few months after the initial release date, but everything has been thrown into chaos thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the delay isn't surprising. 

The show could be facing a complete overhaul, in fact, but right now we just don't know. The year isn't over yet, though, so it's entirely possible Season 6 could drop in November or December 2021. Failing that, we're looking at an early 2022 release date, with any luck. The response from fans and critics to Season 5 was hugely positive, so hopefully we won't have to wait too long to head back inside.

Who's taking part in Season 6 of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons?

"Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" typically ventures into four different locations around the world, where only the most dangerous criminals are housed, per The Cinemaholic. Season 5 visited prisons situated in South Africa, the Philippines, and Greenland. When host Raphael Rowe visited Greenland, he discovered certain prisoners had made a home for themselves behind bars because they'd been imprisoned so long it felt like second nature.

The second episode, on the other hand, focused on Manila City Jail, which is one of the most overcrowded facilities in the world. The finale saw Rowe heading to South Africa, which was filled predominantly with convicts from dangerous gangs. Considering Season 5 was shorter than expected, and the pandemic rages on, Season 6 will likely take in three different locations once more until restrictions are eased and Rowe can venture further afield again. 

What has Raphael Rowe said about Inside the World's Toughest Prisons?

Raphael Rowe is the ideal host for "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" because, as a profile in Express notes, he spent 12 years behind bars himself. Rowe was wrongfully convicted of murder and robbery back in 1988, but he's turned that horrifying experience into an exciting new career. As Rowe clarified, he's not visiting these prisons as a journalist, but as an unbiased observer. "From the moment I step out of that van, those guards treat me like any other prisoner," he explained. Rowe starts each visit handcuffed in the back of a police van. He has no security, and ventures inside accompanied only by a couple camera operators and occasionally either a fixer or translator, depending on the situation.

Rowe has met some of the most violent criminals in the world, but he's still learning from his experiences, admitting of his visit to the notorious Tacumbú penitentiary in Paraguay, "I had never seen anything like [it]." The intrepid reporter, who studied journalism while locked up, had his own conviction overturned in July 2000. "It's scarred me for life," Rowe admitted, "the psychological and physical harm of being in prison for a crime I didn't commit." Rowe didn't take on hosting "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" lightly but, as he points out, "Nobody has taken the unique journey I have," which makes him the ideal host for this show.