Beyond Scared Straight Producers Make Donation to Program Featured in Recent Episode

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Sheriff Chipp Bailey

Sheriff Chipp Bailey, of Mecklenburg County, N.C., has confirmed to JJIE his office received a $10,000 donation from the producers of “Beyond Scared Straight” following the appearance of the county’s “Reality Program” on the controversial A&E television show.

Bailey said the money, provided by Arnold Shapiro Productions, would be used to offset the costs of the food and field trips that are part of the aftercare portion of the “Reality Program." It is unclear whether the producers have made similar payments to other programs filmed for “Beyond Scared Straight”.

The “Reality Program” is designed, according to Bailey, to educate at-risk youth on the realities of prison life and help them avoid making decisions that would land them in jail. In the initial portion of the program, teens are brought to the county jail, and dressed in prison uniforms while deputies intimidate, yell at and berate them. They are shown the jail, placed in cells and eventually meet real inmates who talk about their own lives and the mistakes they’ve made.

scared_straight_seriesA month later, the teens return for the aftercare portion of the program where they can follow up with deputies and talk about the changes in their lives. Bailey says this part of the program is essential to its success.

“You’ve got to break them down first,” Bailey said, “then you can build them back up.”

Bailey said he believes Scared Straight-style programs that do no involve an aftercare program “wouldn’t be worth anything.” It’s the combination of the initial boot camp atmosphere followed by the counseling and relationship building that makes the program so effective, he said.

If it all seems harsh it’s because, “we don’t want to make jail somewhere they want to come,” Bailey said.

2 thoughts on “Beyond Scared Straight Producers Make Donation to Program Featured in Recent Episode

  1. Need help with my troubled teen. He is stealing from family members smoking weed very angry punching walls. I have tried everything he is only sixteen years old and heading in the wrong direction reaching out for help please help me to save my child

  2. Ryan: thanks for the update. I live in Charlotte and defend juveniles in criminal court. After years of defending kids, I can say that I have never had one juvenile client asked to be in this program. The types of kids asked to be in this program are generally not seriously at-risk kids. The way that the Charlotte Observer covered this episode and program was absurd and laughable. Here is the link: http://m.charlotteobserver.com/charlotte/db_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=sCJP0fzP. These kids are not being scared at all and certainly not “straight”. Instead it demystifies the jail setting and gives hardcore criminals media coverage. And now we are learning that they are receiving payments from the show? Wow…what a scam Thanks to you and the JJIE for all the great reporting.