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.

Beyond Scared Straight Renewed for Second Season

The controversial reality television program “Beyond Scared Straight” will return for a second season on the A&E cable network. The show follows a small 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. Juvenile justice experts have derided the show for advocating a program that many studies have shown to be not only ineffective, but also counter-effective, increasing the likelihood that kids will commit crimes in the future. John Wilson, a juvenile crime expert said at the time of the show’s premier last January, “The research is clear that Scared Straight is a failed program that does more harm than good.”

The show’s producer Arnold Shapiro contends the studies don’t provide an accurate depiction of Scared Straight’s success. He says the best tool to assess the programs is follow-up with the kids.

Grant Helps Prevent Kids From Going to Jail

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention offers the Title V Community Prevention Grant. This grant provides support for local communities to lower risk factors for juvenile delinquency. It also helps to prevent at-risk kids from entering the juvenile justice system. The deadline for this grant is July 5, 2011 at 8 P.M. E.S.T. Reporter Chandra Thomas Named 2011 Soros Justice Fellow

Chandra Thomas,’s award-winning state capital reporter, has been named a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow by the Open Society Foundations.  She joins 17 other advocates, journalists, lawyers, grassroots organizers and filmmakers working on a wide array of criminal justice reform issues. As part of the prestigious fellowship, Thomas will spend 12 months producing a series of print and multimedia pieces examining the ways that some Georgia schools divert at-risk children into the state’s 200-plus alternative schools, priming them for the criminal justice system. The fellowship is sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, an organization whose mission is to curb mass incarceration, reduce harsh punishment and ensure a fair and equitable system of justice in the United States.  George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundations, has contributed more than $1 billion in the United States to fund the fellowships.  


Grant Analyzes Gangs For Prevention

The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP)are offering the Gang Field Initiated Research and Evaluation Program Grant. This grant hopes to gain more insight into gangs. It hopes to answer how kids get into them, what their involvement is once inside them and how to keep kids away from gang-related crime. It also will try to measure how effective prevention is when it comes to at-risk kids joining the gangs and the effectiveness of the current intervention programs. Another objective of this grant is to understand the nature and scope of the youth gangs currently in the juvenile justice system.