Screenshot from the episode of "Beyond Scared Straight" filmed in Douglasville, Ga.

Scared Straight Continues, Despite Misgivings

This week, the fourth season of the A&E TV show “Beyond Scared Straight” follows two young sisters to the adult jail in Douglas County, Ga. “We’ve got a real serious ethical program here,” said Professor Del Elliott, the founding director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder. “We’ve got a TV production that’s promoting a program which is doing harm to our children.”

Leonard Witt

Disney, Take Beyond Scared Straight Aff the Air

An Open Letter to

Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company

Dear Mr. Iger:

I know Disney is a large company and you, like Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, can’t oversee everything. So I want to let you know about one of your company’s investments -- Disney’s one-third equity stake in the A&E Television Networks. Since it is not fully under Disney’s control, maybe that’s why you haven’t been watching A&E’s "Beyond Scared Straight." Certainly if you had, you would have intervened and pulled it off the air, but alas last week marked the beginning of its second season.

Sheriff Chipp Bailey

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

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.

John Lash

OP-ED: John Lash On Scared Straight From a Personal Experience

I just watched the first episode of this season of A&E’s “Beyond Scared Straight.” This was my first exposure to the show. has covered the details of this program and experts have weighed in about it in this space, from knowledgeable, yet slightly removed positions.

For me, however, it was a strange and personal experience. Watching the show I was flooded by memories of my own time in prison, both as a young man and as an older prisoner in contact with “at risk youth.” I felt waves of emotion, mostly negative, as I watched fear and intimidation used, along with a smattering of humane connection, to bring about change in these young people.

When I first arrived at the youth prison in Alto (a notorious prison at the time in north Georgia) in 1985, I was placed in a dorm. The officer told us that if we were fighting and refused to stop when he called “break,” he would “bust our ‘tater” with his billy club.


Beyond Scared Straight Program “Incoherent” According to Conflict Management Expert

Set to air Thursday at 8 p.m., the premier episode of the new season of the controversial reality show, “Beyond Scared Straight,” adheres to the themes that made it A&E’s most watched show: A small group of at-risk youth spend the day in prison where they are yelled at, intimidated and humiliated by sheriff’s deputies and inmates alike. The screaming and threats of prison rape are followed by emotional conversations with the inmates as they describe to the teens where they went wrong and how the teens can avoid the same fate. The episode features Mecklenburg County, N.C.’s “Reality Program,” created by Sheriff Daniel “Chipp” Bailey. “Our Reality Program stresses education, not intimidation,” Bailey is quoted as saying on the program’s website. According to the website, the mission of the program is to “provide the community with a program which will help educate young people about the long-term effects of participating in criminal activity.”

After watching the show, non-violent communication and conflict management expert Dr. Heather Pincock was baffled.