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Beyond Scared Straight

Where to Watch Beyond Scared Straight

Chester, SC: The Harder They Fall
In Chester County, SC, an abusive 16-year-old rapper resists authority and challenges the deputies, who then team together to restrain the troubled teen.

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Fulton, GA: Facing Foxxxxy
Rumors lead to violence when proud, gay teen Cedric, 15, hospitalizes a fellow female student. He's sent to the Fulton County jail where he gets an eye-opening lesson in restraint.

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St.Clair County, IL: History of Violence
Darisha, 17 is a gangbanger who boldly challenges inmates, until she sees a relative behind bars at St. Clair County Jail, IL.

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Western Tidewater, VA: Mother and Child Reunion
In Suffolk, VA, an incarcerated mother and her 14-year-old daughter are reunited. Sadly, the daughter is following in the footsteps of her mother.

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Oklahoma City, OK: Tears of a Clown
Two sisters inspired by Insane Clown Posse get a taste of what jail life is like in Oklahoma.

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Beyond Scared Straight is an engrossing, raw, and often shocking real-life documentary series that aired on A&E from 2011 to 2015. This hard-hitting show explores an unconventional approach to juvenile crime prevention by putting young offenders directly in the path of the harsh realities of prison life.

The show is based on the eponymous 1978 documentary and expands on its concept by featuring different U.S. correctional facilities each episode. The program's purpose is to deter participants from criminal behavior through fear and the grim understanding of the penal system's harsh realities. Throughout the course of the series, viewers get an up-close and personal look at various facets of jail, including interactions with intimidating, often hardened inmates who impart wisdom, stern warnings, and sometimes even threats. The show's title reflects this principle - using fear to push young offenders to rectify their lives and tread on a better path, thus moving "beyond" being scared straight.

The participants of the show—teenagers aged 12 to 18—come from diverse backgrounds and have been implicated in a variety of offenses, ranging from theft, drugs, vandalism, to even violent crimes. Prior to their prison visit, the show delves into each participant's personal history, revealing their struggles, familial issues, and law-breaking tendencies, consequently providing context and depth to their individual stories. Additionally, the series captures the anguish and concern of the participants' parents who've decided to use this method as a last resort to break their children's criminal patterns.

One of the defining aspects of the show is its unfiltered portrayal of life behind bars. Guided tours around the prison are far from a gentle stroll through the park—these visits are designed to jolt the participants into reality. This includes rough encounters with inmates, tearful breakdowns, fights, and shouting matches. It's not a pleasurable experience, neither for the troubled teens nor for the audience. It's gritty, raw, and reveals the harshness of a life of crime and punishment in unflinchingly vivid detail.

Beyond Scared Straight additionally offers an insight into different incarceration programs, from inmate-run interactive sessions to confrontational one-on-ones. The correction officers and inmates provide chilling, first-hand accounts of life inside prison, ensuring the gravity of their words permeates the young offenders' minds. The show also exposes the hidden dangers that lurk in the prison environment, such as violence, poor living conditions, isolation, and mental health issues. The idea is to ensure the reality of prison life resonates deeply within the participants' hearts and minds and discourages them from repeating their past mistakes.

Moreover, the show isn't entirely focused on fear—it shows the tough love, guidance, and mentorship offered by prison inmates and officers. In some instances, the participants are also given practical advice, counseling, and support to make better choices, proving the series doesn't simply rely on scare tactics.

Through the implementation of “Scared Straight”-type programs, Beyond Scared Straight aims to provide both the participants and the viewers with a jarring glimpse into life inside prison and the results, be they successful or unsuccessful, of this unique intervention method. Throughout its run, the show sparked controversy and discussions regarding its approach to juvenile reform, stirring a conversation about the best ways to divert young people from a life of crime.

By illustrating the stark contrast between freedom and incarceration, Beyond Scared Straight creates an intense, thought-provoking viewing experience. The series serves as a severe eye-opener, not only for the troubled youths participating in the program but also for viewers at home who get a first-hand glimpse into the repercussions of crime and the undeniable reality of life behind bars.

In sum, Beyond Scared Straight is more than just a reality show—it's an exploration of the countless lives affected by juvenile crime and a reflection on the approaches taken to rehabilitate these young individuals. It's a mixture of raw emotions, harsh realities, redemption hopes, and offers an engrossing delve into the intersections of crime, consequence, and prevention efforts.

Beyond Scared Straight is a series categorized as a canceled/ended. Spanning 9 seasons with a total of 105 episodes, the show debuted on 2011. The series has earned a moderate reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 7.3.

Cecilia, Samuel Robinson, Leanna
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