Barack Obama is set to appear on another TV show, and this one will land him behind bars.
The White House announced on Friday that the president will visit the El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma next week as part of a Vice special that will examine the state of the criminal justice system and the rising prison population. This is the first time that a sitting president has visited a federal prison.
Airing this fall on HBO, the special will be hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith, who will tour the medium-security penitentiary with Obama while meeting with inmates and staff. (Unlike Jeff Ross, the President will not also roast the prisoners.) According to HBO, the interviews will be part of an HBO documentary “looking at the pervasive impacts of America’s approach to crime and imprisonment, chronicling the many interlocking pieces of the sprawling system, from prisoners and their families to the judiciary and community reformers.”
Said Smith in a statement: “There’s an emerging consensus in this country — on both the right and the left — that the way we treat criminal offenders is utterly broken and weakening our society in profound ways. Visiting El Reno with President Obama — the first-ever visit to a federal prison by a sitting president — will give our viewers a firsthand look into how the president is thinking about this problem, from the policy level down to one on one conversations with the men and women living this reality. It’s going to be fascinating.”
Obama has recently appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, interviewed Sir David Attenborough for a BBC special about climate change and been a guest on Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live.