This is a fascinating — and super-topical — idea for a TV show. When the U.S. prison population gets too huge, we buy Greenland and turn it into a ginormous co-ed prison where people can supposedly win their freedom. That's the premise of 51st State, a show in development now for Syfy.

Top image: Inside of Scottish prison, photo by xlibber/Flickr/cc+by 2.0

The pilot for 51st State is being written by Craig Borten, the Oscar-nominated co-writer of Dallas Buyers Club. It's being produced by the super-prolific Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope with Chernin Entertainment. Here's the full plot synopsis, via Deadline:

As 51st State unfolds, the United States, confronting a prison population stretched to the limit, purchases Greenland and converts it into a frontier prison colony with male and female convicts incarcerated together. Promised conditional freedom, the inmates are driven to the edge of their humanity when that promise is broken, along with others. Struggling to seize control and exact revenge, reluctant heroes emerge — but what exactly are they fighting for?

This actually sounds like it could be pretty thought-provoking. [Deadline]