Tags: ,

Netflix Star John McAllister Has Died Aged 29

John McAllister Dead: The star of Netflix's Unlocked: A Jail Experiment has died aged 29.
Credit: Netflix

John McAllister has tragically died aged just 29.

McAllister, affectionately known as ‘Eastside’, starred in the Netflix series Unlocked: A Jail Experiment.

The TV personality’s humour and entrepreneurship won over viewers – he started a tattoo business during filming.

It’s been confirmed that McAllister died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

John McAllister
Tributes are pouring in for Netflix star John McAllister. Credit: Netflix

After hearing the saddening news, tributes have been pouring.

One fan writes: “Prayers go out to his family and those who loved him.”

“This is so heartbreaking,” agrees another.

A third person pens: “I loved this show… prayers for his friends and family!”

McAllister was a part of an innovative social experiment at Pulaski County Regional Detention Center, shown in Unlocked: A Jail Experiment. It was filmed last year.

It involved detainees being allowed to move around their unit without direct supervision.

Eric Higgins
Arkansas sheriff Eric Higgins came up with the bold idea to transform the prison environment. Credit: Netflix

Arkansas sheriff Eric Higgins, the mastermind behind Unlocked: A Jail Experiment, discussed his vision for transforming the prison environment.

He told Netflix’s Tudum: “How do we make the facility safer, and what can we do to still hold them accountable but empower them at the same time?”

Appearing at an NAACP Q&A session in Jacksonville, Florida, Higgins emphasised: “I want to humanise people. I want to empower people to have an impact on their culture, environment, and community.”

The docuseries has faced criticism – people have questioned why the experiment was made into a TV show.

Justice of the Peace Phil Stowers of District 13 said, per FOX16: “It’s not a question as to whether or not the sheriff has the ability to try something out of the box, something new in the jail.

“The questions and concerns are why did that have to turn into a reality TV show?”

Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde also claims he never signed off on the project and only found out about it when he saw the trailer, per KNKX.

John McAllister
John McAllister was just weeks away from his release. Credit: Netflix

McAllister had numerous run-ins with the law – he reportedly served 14 jail terms. At the time of his death, he was serving time for drug-related felonies, breaking and entering, theft, and unlawful firearm possession.

He expressed a sincere wish to atone for his past and start anew.

McAllister was just weeks away from his release at the time of his passing.

The TV star’s aunt, Melissa Regan, has shared a GoFundMe page for his memorial service.

Its description reads: “His sudden passing has left our family devastated.

“We are raising funds to cover the costs of memorial services and transportation, as our family is split between Omaha, NE, and Arkansas.

“We are currently planning his Celebration of Life, and details will be announced soon. We appreciate any support you can offer and ask that you keep our family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

“Thank you for your kindness and generosity.”

John McAllister
John McAllister wanted to atone for his past. Credit: Netflix

McAllister’s cousin, Melissa Schuman, added: “Our family would like to express our deepest gratitude for the Unlocked series.

“For the first time, John took a hard look at his life and was willing to make changes to become a better person.

“He was so excited to get out and start a new, better life for himself.

“The series gave him the chance to grow, and for that, we are forever grateful. Thank you Netflix and Lucky 8 for making this happen.”

John McAllister
A GoFundMe for John McAllister’s memorial service has been launched. Credit: GoFundMe

McAllister was found unresponsive in his cell and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

At the time of writing, no cause of death has been confirmed. No suicide or foul play is suspected, per THV11.

You can donate to John McAllister’s GoFundMe here.

Related Article: Police Launch Criminal Investigation Into Matthew Perry’s Death In New Twist To Case

Related Article: Chris Pratt’s Stunt Double Tony McFarr Has Died Aged 47

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.