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Episode Recap: The Jail

Murderous inmates and dangerous spirits collide during a prison's night shift.


All is not well with Estrella Jail in Phoenix, AZ. Just ask Jay Yates, a detention officer who took a night shift position at the all-female penitentiary in 2009.

On his very first night, Jay was assigned to D Tower, where the prison houses the "worst of the worst." D Tower is run-down, neglected and filthy — the perfect place, as Jay was about to discover, for paranormal activity.

Jay's partner for the evening, Officer Brown, stayed in the control room as Jay volunteered to do the first count of the shift (when the inmates are counted and, therefore, all accounted for). Jay was confused when he looked back toward the control room window and saw what looked like a Sergeant standing behind Brown. When Jay returned to the control room, he inquired as to the Sergeant's visit, though Brown said he'd been alone the entire time Jay was doing count.

For the rest of his very first shift, Jay experienced doors opening and closing of their own accord, the sound of approaching footsteps and loud pounding on the control room door … though there was no one there. Were his fellow detention officers hazing the new guy?

The next night, Jay couldn't help but notice a cold distance in his fellow officers; they all seemed overworked, overly tired and desensitized. And then there was Simpson, Jay's partner for the evening, who almost had a nervous breakdown when he found out he was assigned to D Tower for the night. "He knows where I am … he can see us … I can't do this!" Simpson mumbled to himself. Who, exactly, is this 'he' Simpson speaks of?

Jay would get an idea later that night when he saw a man in one of the cell blocks. Jay's investigation was interrupted by a sudden outburst from one of the inmates: "I don't want to, I don't want to, no, no!" Jay looked into the cell … and the inmate stared back with demonic eyes! After Jay called in Brown, who was working in Medical that evening, the inmate revealed that "He was here … the Sergeant was here, and he told me to kill myself!"

Sheesh … how did these guys land such a dream job?

Working in D Tower began to take its toll on Jay. He was too tired to spend any quality time with his wife and two sons. He started to resemble his zombie-like colleagues, and a rage began to boil beneath the fatigue …

The disturbances continued, and Jay wasn't the only one experiencing them. After someone — or something — threw a chair against the window of the control room while Jay was inside, Brown was attacked from behind by an unseen force while he was doing a cell search. A new recruit, Officer Padilla, explored the entire cell block, trying to find the source of a disembodied male voice … and eventually found herself face-to-face with the entity known as The Sergeant.

Jay felt little comfort in knowing that he wasn't the only one experiencing these strange events. In fact, after seeing a vision of an inmate who had hung herself in the shower, Jay started to believe that the prison may drive him to take his own life.

After watching a newscast about Officer Simpson attempting his own suicide, Jay's wife Marie did some Internet research and found that Estrella Jail had apparently driven other detention officers to madness over the years. For example, Officer Dean Thomas pleaded guilty to murdering his wife back in 2005, with his friends claiming he had completely changed for the worse after be began his tenure at Estrella.

It seemed there would be no escaping the darkness after Jay saw a ghostly figure of a woman in his own bedroom. Later, Marie found him standing in the doorway of his house with lifeless eyes, telling Marie that he's "waiting for the inmates." Thankfully, the power of love prevailed, as Marie's refusal to let her husband go brought him back from the abyss.

Jay resigned from Estrella Jail, though he feels there's still a part of him in that place … a part that will never be released.

How to Watch

Catch up on Paranormal Witness on Peacock or the SYFY app.