Much to our dismay, A&E Network will air a second season of "Beyond 'Scared Straight,'" its hit reality-TV show, beginning August 18, 2011. As you may know, the program exposes a group of teens who've committed offenses to a group of adult prison inmates who scream, yell, and talk tough, in an effort to convince the kids to "going straight."
There's a lot of problems with this approach, but the chief one is this: it doesn't work. There's not a single piece of independent research that indicates it's effective, and quite a lot that shows it isn't -- in fact, an overview of nine studies shows that youth who participate are more likely to commit crimes than kids who don't. That may make for great television, but it's not good for the kids or our communities.
We've given a lot of coverage in the past to why "Scared Straight" is a bad idea, so I'll just link to it here:
- Beyond "Scared Straight" – Moving to Programs that Actually Work
- U.S. Department of Justice: Scared Straight is "Scary and Ineffective"
- Scared Straight: Don’t Believe the Hype (Facts from CJJ)
- Scared Straight -- or Just Scared? Judges Speak Out Against "Beyond 'Scared Straight'"
- "Scared Straight" Programs on Hold in Two States
Updated: February 08 2018