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Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight

The original Scared Straight program took place in the 70's and the reports about the success of the original program appear to be a little negative. It would be interesting to see a more recent study about the new Beyond Scared Straight program currently airing. The original series from Rahway State Prison in New Jersey, and the studies shown were done in the 70's and 80's.

There have been similar programs attempted with similar results. One program held in the state of Nevada went as far as to have the participants undergo some pretty degrading activities, including a strip search. Studies of the effectiveness for these programs are available online and can be found at Djj.State.us the studies were conducted on teens between the ages of 15-17. It would be interesting to see results on the younger children taken to the facilities. With children beginning to act out at younger and younger ages, studying the effects of a program on the younger children may produce different results.

Scared Straight Controversy

With the results of the original scared straight program leaning more toward the negative side of the scales it is interesting that the show would come back 40 years after it originally aired. It is hard for most sensible people to understand how a traumatic experience like that can lead to more teens returning than those without the experience. It may be that children 15-17 are already beyond saving, at least from the standpoint of the Beyond Scared Straight Program? There are troubled teen programs and boarding schools that have good success helping youth in these age ranges. One program touts a 97% success rate for students that attend their schools.

In viewing the Beyond Scared Straight program it seems like the younger kids are more deeply impacted by the event. Perhaps a study on the recidivism of younger children would be in order? Maybe one has been done? We were only able to find studies most of which were at least 10 years old, that had been done. Any avenue that can help prevent a child from entering the juvenile and eventually the adult prison system should be carefully examined.

Weekend Boot Camps

15 years ago a trend in daytime television spawned a group of boot camps that were designed to change teen virtually over night. The mouthy teen would first be brought on the set and was allowed to disrespect everyone all the while being booed by the audience. Then the “hero”, the intimidating drill sergeant would enter the picture and immediately get in the face of the defiant teen. This of course brought cheers from the audience. Video clips of the teens daily routine were taken during their bootcamp experience. The following week the clips would be shown and the newly “reformed” teen would apologize to their parent. The problem with this type of option was the fact that most of the teens shortly returned to their old habits, and the boot camp experience was soon forgotten.

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