Alternatives to Scared Straight

A&E’s Beyond Scared Straight has recently finished a third season of episodes in various prisons and county jails across the United States. For those who do not know, Beyond Scared Straight is based on the award winning reality documentary Scared Straight! It featured a group of juvenile offenders going into Rahway State Prison in New Jersey with real criminals called “The Lifers”, basically scaring the kids who have peer-socialized apathy syndrome straight with the realities of prison life. Since then, various state and county governments have implemented similar programs in their jails and prisons.

Despite the appearance of success, real Juvenile justice advocates are actually opposed to the programs based on a 1993 study. But I will not get into that in this paper. The real question is that these juvenile advocates do not offer much an alternative for people who don’t give a damn, or people who have peer-socialized apathy syndrome. So I decided to make my own alternatives since these people are lazy.

Each of these programs are based on the “Scared Straight” programs, but with a twist. Instead of giving them a taste of negative consequences, why not give these youth a taste of positive consequences if they stay on the straight and narrow? Why not give them a reason to live.

Scared Educated:
Scared Educated would be a program where at-risk teens visit a state university or college. They can view what a classroom looks like, their facilities look like. The can visit student unions buildings and activities. They can sample the fine dining of the dining hall. They can also visit the dorm. At the end, they get into a “confrontation” with the people who were considered at risk teenagers at their age and talk to them about their lives and aspirations.

Scared Wealthy:
Scared Wealthy would be a program where at risk teens get to view how a high end business works: From benefits, their workplaces, and meeting spaces. The teens can have one to one interviews with Interviews with the people who make it who were at-risk teenagers . They can also get a taste of the work skills they would have to use, and have a interview experience with the same employer who runs the scared wealthy program.

Scared Governed:
At risk teens visit a government legislature and meet with a politicians. They get to see how government actually works. They can experience a legislative committee, and can actually interact with a committee. This program can see how they can change things in their lives without resorting to without illegal methods.
Scared Otaku (BECAUSE WHY NOT?!):

Scared Otaku (BECAUSE WHY NOT?!):
At-risk teens get to visit a anime convention. They will meet up with at risk teens who go to anime cons and why they go there. It could be an overnight stay on a Saturday morning and ending on a Sunday afternoon. They can be exposed to a concert, anime viewing, cosplay, panels, video games, and the general otaku culture.

At-risk teens get to visit a anime convention. They will meet up with at risk teens who go to anime cons and why they go there. It could be an overnight stay on a Saturday and ending on a Sunday night. They can be exposed to a concert, anime viewing, cosplay, panels, video games, and the general otaku culture.

These and other similar programs can give much more of a positive result than regular scared straight programs. They give a people something to look forward to if they get on the straight and narrow: A positive future. Hell, these types of programs if implemented would be more interesting than the gloom and doom of prison themed scared straight programs. However, since America is proudly dumb on crime, it will never happen.

Ndee "Jkid" Okeh (YSJkid@gmail.com)

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