Roy Wood Jr. Highlights Criminal Justice Component with New Comedy Series
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. announced a new show coming to Comedy Central this fall. Jefferson County: Probationfeatures The Daily Show veteran as a Parole Officer “willing to bend the rules to help the parolees on his watch, much to the chagrin of his partner and everyone else in his life.” The sitcom is co-written by Wood and The Boondockscreator Aaron McGruder. It’s executive produced by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. The show will shoot in Wood’s hometown of Birmingham. Wood recently traveled home to announce the new show with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin who said movie making brought $12 million in economic impact for the city in 2018. Wood says he’s “excited to tell these stories in a new place (Birmingham) and even more excited to go on this journey with an African American woman director [Millicent Shelton] at the helm. Also, my mom has a long list of chores for me to do. So it’ll be kinda cool to shoot at home.” Probation and parole -- originally designed as an alternative to incarceration -- have instead become a significant contributor to mass incarceration. Tens of thousands of people are returned to prison each year from parole -- some for committing new crimes, but many for missteps like missing appointments, not having a job, or failing a drug test. About 19% of the 600,000 people entering the nation’s prisons in 2016 were there for violating their parole, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Wood, a FAMU graduate, said he hopes the show can bring to light some of the challenges previous offenders face when trying to re-enter society after spending time behind bars. He said he wants to tell the stories of members of the Jefferson County justice system who have used creative approaches to helping those people find success and live a crime-free life. Watch his press conference here.