The Bastille. Leavenworth. Alcatraz. Marion. Dartmoor. Throughout history, prisons have terrified and intrigued us. Behind their walls, tales of torture, death and survival have emanated… eliciting our darkest fears… inciting bloody riots… and sometimes, illuminating hope for the human spirit.

Over the ages, these symbols of justice and punishment have inspired artists — from Alexander Dumas to O. Henry — and contributed to countless books, plays, and movies, like The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, Don Quixote, Papillon, The Birdman of Alcatraz and the Shawshank Redemption, just to name a few.

In HARD TIME we will take the viewer behind the walls of some of the world’s most infamous prisons to find out what they were really like. For the first time, we will tell the technological story behind the grim human story. We’ll employ state-of-the-art computer animation to show what prisons of centuries past really looked like. We’ll also listen to former wardens and prison guards to hear intimate details of the appalling conditions endured, inhumane torture endured, and rampant disease and death encountered.

We’ll examine some of the most famous castle dungeons and fortresses of the Middle Ages, including the Tower of London, the Bastille in France, and the Chillon prison in Switzerland.

In this one-hour special, HARD TIME will dare to venture inside some of the most notorious prisons of the world. And we’ll not only see them. We’ll also find out fascinating facts about them as we separate fact from fancy.