While “scared straight” programs make great TV they do nothing to prevent criminal activity. The “scared straight” concept — traumatizing children and teens to convince them not pursue a life of crime — has been roundly, repeatedly and thorough discredited. Check this analysis from ncjrs.gov:
A study by Anthony Petrosino and researchers at the Campbell Collaboration analyzed results from nine Scared Straight programs and found that such programs generally increased crime up to 28 percent in the experimental group when compared to a no-treatment control group.
In another analysis of juvenile prevention and treatment programs, Mark Lipsey of the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies found that youth who participate in Scared Straight and other similar deterrence programs have higher recidivism rates than youth in control groups.
And a report presented in 1997 to the U.S. Congress reviewed more than 500 crime prevention evaluations and placed Scared Straight programs in the “what does not work” category.
Why doesn’t it surprise me that anti-gun agitprop providers like The Trace and The Guardian are celebrating an anti-crime initiative that doesn’t work?
This particular “scared straight” program is particularly heinous. Not to put too fine a point on it, I reckon program devised and run by Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center executive Khari Edwards is a form of child abuse. I only wish the ER doc behind this insanity had clicked in the link above before his ghoulish drive down the road to hell.
“It is understandable why desperate parents hoping to divert their troubled children from further misbehavior would place their hopes in a program they see touted as effective on TV, and why in years past policymakers opted to fund what appeared to be an easy fix for juvenile offending,” wrote [Office of Justice administrators] Robinson and Slowikowski. “However, we have a responsibility—as both policymakers and parents—to follow evidence, not anecdote, in finding answers, especially when it comes to our children.”