"Scared Straight!" After All These Years: Bad Policy, but Good TV?

Remember Scared Straight!, the original 1978 documentary directed by Arnold Shapiro and narrated by Peter Falk? This documentary was a groundbreaking television special about a group of young and cocky juvenile law offenders who, as part of a juvenile rehabilitation program, got to come face-to-face with hardened criminals who told them about the harsh realities of prison life … in the most graphic of terms. Inmates in a New Jersey jail, some lifers, didn’t just describe their prison lives for the youngsters. They also screamed at, threatened, berated and belittled them, all in an effort to scare them straight. ...more