Despite Criticism, “Beyond Scared Straight” Renewed On A&E


The controversial reality television program “Beyond Scared Straight” will return for a second season on the A&E cable network, says the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. The show follows a group of at-risk kids as they are taken inside prison ,where inmates try to scare them away from lives of crime by yelling at them and describing the brutal reality of prison life. Experts have derided the show for advocating a program that studies have shown to be not only ineffective, but also counter-effective, increasing the likelihood that kids will commit crimes in the future.

Producer Arnold Shapiro contends the studies don't accurately depict Scared Straight's success. He says the best tool to assess the programs is follow-up with the kids. The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange says that Angelo Speziale, who was a part of the original “Scared Straight,” was recently convicted of murder despite his claims that the program changed his life for the better.

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