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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

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.”


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  1. Scare straight the parents of these kids. Hold parents responsible for their kids up to the age of 18.

  2. How are you going to ‘Scare Straight’ kids who have most likely seen first-hand the effects of a head shot at the time it happened?

    Anyone? Anyone? …Bueller?

  3. These programs have been around for more than 20 years and have proven to be colossal failures. Many of these juveniles are hardened criminals by the time they reach the age of 14 or 15. They’ve been babied by the juvenile system which by and large focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. As a result they think they’re bullet proof and have little or no fear of incarceration. The sad fact is that the ones who have affiliated with gangs see incarceration as a badge of honor. The only real way to deter many of them is to lock them for extended periods of time.

    • Rehabilitation is actually very effective for adult offenders. It fails for youth because once they get out they still have no legal agency.

  4. On the contrary, I feel this program will work perfectly for their ends:

    ‘…such programs generally increased crime up to 28 percent in the experimental group when compared to a no-treatment control group.’

    Wouldn’t it be so much easier to convince people to vote for more ‘common sense gun safety’ if the fictional gun violence epidemic weren’t so fictional?

    • Probably not. When carjackings became a thing outside of gangland for the first time back in the 1980s, even my own mother carried a gun.

      Any sustained increase in crime rates would likely make more people think that having or even carrying a gun is probably a good idea, just in case… That’s especially true now since in most places it is much easier to do so legally.

      • For every penny someone spends on a gun due to an increased fear of crime, I bet the ease of getting them, and many many others, to support increased “policing” and “tougher laws”, “longer sentences”, “more prisons”, “less onerous burdens of proof” etc. increases manifold. Rendering the government ever larger and more potentially intrusive than it already was.

        • Someone else gets it. Bad guys in prison are still a problem and putting more through the legal system just makes said system larger . . . which is the largest in the world by far. The Prison Industrial Complex is a thing in the USA. Much of it is fueled by the prohibition of drugs – government entities help to create the problem and then help to create the solution. Generate instability to facilitate more control; it is a very old game.

  5. Why do they only want to prevent “Gun Violence”? Are they okay with young black people beating each other or knifing each other to death? Why aren’t they trying to prevent all violence? Do they thing violence differentiates itself based on the methods used to apply it?

    • Maybe it isn’t actually about the violence. Maybe it isn’t about crime. Maybe it is just about taking away firearms from the citizens (so that you can oppress and control them more easily).

    • For the same reason your average Antebellum plantation owner were more concerned with gun violence amongst his slaves, than about them beating each other with sticks: Progressives wants those working directly for them, to be the only ones with guns.

  6. I’ve gone into schools in LA, Hollywood (still LA but Hollywood Highschool is a dump), Inglewood, Compton, and others. I’ve told the kids the harsh reality of what a job interview entails. They are, at some point, going to have to convince someone behind a desk that they are the best person for a good job. Getting good grades, extra-curricular activities, education, and job experience will help them land that dream job. Poor grades, school suspensions, arrests, gang tattoos, etc. definitely won’t help.

    But what do I know? I’m just a white guy talking about my white privilege. I’m “the man.” Hopefully I got through to some of the kids, but I doubt it. Oh, and my patrol car was vandalized several times during the process.

    • Your patrol car?

      There’s your problem. The irony here is palpable–you lecturing the urchins of Compton to modify their bad behaviors while your career and livelihood DEPEND on this not changing… but I’m sure that “irony” is not in their vocabularies or adjusted reading comprehension level, and is lost on them.

      What do they know? They each personally know someone who has been screwed over by someone who looks and acts exactly like you. This is why they give you surly looks. This is why most of them rejoice when someone with a badge bites the dust.

      • Well if you are bitching about him going around in uniform, might I suggest you do it instead. I’m sure the Children will give you more credentials.

      • “…while your career and livelihood DEPEND on this not changing…”

        If crime dropped to zero tomorrow, we’d dismantle the justice system by Friday? His job would be safe if the crime rate in South Central dropped to that of rural Iowa.

        “They each personally know someone who has been screwed over by someone who looks and acts exactly like you.”

        And 99 of 100 times the “screwing” is police having the crazy job requirement that inner-city blacks don’t shoot each other over real or perceived social slights, have a valid driver’s license, have tags on their car that aren’t expired and/or borrowed from someone’s cousin, not rob people, not commit random assaults, not get up in a cops face screaming “racism” about every time they’re caught doing something illegal. You know, follow the same rules as the rest of us.

        Yes, LAPD is still a corrupt cesspool, but the reality is that even the crooked cops (Rampart for instance) victimize other criminals. That’s how the vast majority of people end up interacting with cops, they do incredibly stupid sh1t and expect that they won’t get caught, or believe the law doesn’t apply to them.

        So stuff the SJW nonsense. Inner city blacks have more opportunities to succeed than almost any other American. Culturally though, many of them have no desire to be anywhere but right where they are.

        • Statistics force me to take issue with your enumerated list of police activities.

          Shooting each other slights? ~with 25% solved rate for murders in Chicago?

          Drivers licenses and license plates?

          Preventing robberies?

          Random assaults?

          Everyone knows that police do not actually prevent crime except when they get incredibly lucky in the right place at the right time.

          You’re essentially claiming the police in the inner cities stay busy by checking car registrations and chasing the punks who play the punching game.

          That is a lie. We all know that “disrupting illegal activities” is almost exclusively stealing cash (forfeiture) and “capturing” large drug stashes–then demanding more money, more HumVees, more pensions, more ceremonies, more warrants, and more blind, unconditional blank-check support regardless of behavior or performance.

          Investigating murders is just a necessary part of the charade, but I wouldn’t have much enthusiasm for it either if my primary goals were the same of most police departments. Corpses rarely have stacks of money attached to them. Houses that you don’t have a warrant for yet? Those frequently have cash stacks. Maybe this is why their murder solving rate is so bad.

          I’m not a social justice warrior in the least, but police are never going to “win” the drug war. Nor do they want to, as they have learned that if it is “managed” instead of won, it is the golden goose that lays new humvees and grenade launchers. What is more important is that they are learning a variety of new ways to rip the constitution to shreds in the process.

          We are faced with the prospect of a fascist traitor in the White House. You are going to have a very stupid look on your face when Accur81 kicks in your door while the meatheads in the above video do the same to your allies.

          Maybe I’m being paranoid, but there are too many written accounts from Russians and European Jews to blow this off. I think the “Oathkeepers” was formed and people join becauss the members realized a startling number of their colleagues are Oathbreakers.

        • Statistics force you to agree with my list of enumerated police activities, so please take your HRC “black is white:” bullshit propaganda and place it in the appropriate orifice. I know exactly what the FBI UCR proves, and if you want to whip it it out and see who’s is bigger, please, let’s have a go. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, I don’t take bets I don’t know that I’ve won before they’re placed.

  7. Scared straight sucks up a LOT of grant $$$ that would otherwise go to even less useful programs.

    If the kids are willing to sit for a presentation, they might be the wrong kids. The ones that need “reaching” might be scarier and less attentive. It’s like the joke about the person looking for the lost quarter under the streetlight. A friend comes up and offers to help and asks where it was dropped. The first person says ‘over there, about 60′ away’. The second person says “then why are you looking for it here?!” To which the first person says ‘because the light is better over here’.

    Scared straight ok with the gay community? Hmm. But if the result were that the graduates were “straight as an arrow” the people in America at about the same time as the Vikings, would be offended.

  8. Not to mention that our last administration glorified the thug lifestyle like no other administration has in 240 years. So Obama would surely liken these to ‘achievement films’ to motivate our young to a new exciting level of thug that will you get you a free trip to the White House and a press spot on CNN.

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