Which prison is John McAllister Eastside in now? Netflix's Unlocked subject's status as of today

John "Eastside" McAllister in
John "Eastside" McAllister in 'Unlocked: A Jail Experiment' (Image via Netflix)

John McAllister is one of the prisoners who appeared in Netflix's documentary series Unlocked: A Jail Experiment. Released on April 10, 2024, the eight-part documentary series centers on a jail experiment in which prisoners are allowed freedom outside cells without supervision.

During the filming of the series, John McAllister, also known as Eastside, was an inmate at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. However, he has since been moved and is currently serving three year sentence at Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Unlocked: A Jail Experiment has gained attention since its release, becoming a Netflix success. However, the social experiment led by Sheriff Eric Higgins has sparked controversy due to the legality of the filming process. According to Arkansas Times, Higgins and the producers are currently under investigation by the Pulaski County government regarding the show's contracts and approval.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for the Netflix docuseries Unlocked: A Jail Experiment.

What was John "Eastside" McAllister arrested for? Crimes explored

A mugshot of John McAllister (via Netflix)
A mugshot of John McAllister (via Netflix)

John McAllister was initially arrested in 2014 for alleged theft from an exotic pet store in Omaha, Nebraska. At just 19 years of age, he was arrested along with his accomplices for attempting to steal snakes and other reptiles. He had entered the store by breaking through the front door with a hammer.

The police were able to capture between 50 and 60 animals with an estimated worth of around $40,000, the rest of the animals managed to escape into the wild. According to police reports, McAllister was apprehended while trying to escape with a 10-pound snake.

A still from 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)
A still from 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)

Following his arrest, McAllister was charged with burglary and narcotics possession. He received a five-year sentence on December 16, 2019. However, he was released in 2021 on discretionary parole.

Subsequently, McAllister was arrested in Arkansas and sentenced to three years in prison in 2023 on charges including possession of drugs and firearms, as well as theft and breaking.

John "Eastside" McAllister's role in Netflix's Unlocked: A Jail Experiment

John McAllister in 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)
John McAllister in 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)

In Unlocked, John McAllister is introduced as one of the younger members of the H-Unit at Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility. As a tattoo artist, he devised his method of gaining favors and money by inking people through his improvised equipment of soot and stapler pins.

While he felt thrilled at his newfound freedom granted by the experiment, McAllister expressed discontent with the fact that some older inmates of the unit were trying to take charge and monitor others. Now, out of the sight of supervision of officers, the inmates decided to light a fire for smoking tobacco and other things.

The men lit a fire with clock batteries, with McAllister hanging a burning wick in his room. However, the smoke triggered the fire alarm and led officers to return and search the area. While they didn't find anything in his room initially, the officers eventually uncovered a hooch in his cell.

A still from 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)
A still from 'Unlocked' (via Netflix)

In order for the experiment to continue, McAllister took ownership of all the illegal contraband and signed documents, taking the blame. Although he lost some of his privileges, McAllister was allowed to remain in the H-Unit, and his mental health gradually showed signs of improvement.

By the end of the show, McAllister became a vocal advocate for the experiment and expressed his desire for its continuation.


All episodes of Unlocked: A Jail Experiment are currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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Edited by Shubham Soni
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