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Series: Beyond Scared Straight

Beyond Scared Straight is an A&E reality show that follows state-sponsored programs that send at-risk teens into prison to get a glimpse of what their lives will be like if they continue down the paths they're currently on. It's based off the famous 1978 documentary, Scared Straight!


This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Various examples from both the teens and the inmates they meet.
  • Angry Black Man: About eighty-five percent of the inmates are this.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: The female teens are almost always start out as this.
  • Break the Cutie
  • Break the Haughty
  • Chewing the Scenery: even as early as the 1978 special, it's been highly suspected that the inmate participants seen in these shows were probably already reformed or even "trustees". Many suggest that they were just putting on an act to put fear into these kids. The reasoning usually posits: "If they were truly as dangerous as they tried to appear, would they have even been allowed to be in the same room with kids?"
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Send prospective jail-bound teens/young adults into the very place they may one day end up?
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The inmates talk like this.
  • Dark and Troubled Past
  • Downer Ending: Whenever it's revealed that any of the teens ended up in jail anyway, post-filming.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Kids who are disrespectful to their mothers are treated "special" by the inmates.
  • Heel-Face Turn: In contrast to above, most of the teens are so scarred by their prison visits that they turn their lives around to focus on school, jobs, and family.
  • Let Me at Him!: Sometimes yelled by restrained inmates at some of the younger/prettier teens.
  • Mood Whiplash: After all the yelling and scare tactics are over, the inmates leading the group are matched one-on-one with each of the teens for a heartfelt talk.
    • Arguably, an in-show example as well. Watch how quickly the teens' demeanors turn from smug to grim.
  • No Indoor Voice: Many of the inmates.
  • Not So Different: Often revealed to the kids during said heartfelt talks.
  • Once an Episode: The show's limited premise makes it a bit repetitive.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Prison Rape: Let's just say the issue comes up.
  • Reality Ensues: Think it's cool to go to jail? Wait 'till you're actually there.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: The premise of the show.
  • Scary Black Man: The Angry Black Men are also this.
  • The Slacker: Most, if not all, of the teens just want to cruise though life. Once they get out, many of them start focusing on school and community involvement so they don't have to turn to crime.
  • Tears of Fear: The kids will often burst out into these midway through the visit.
  • Think of the Children!: Inverted. The guards will often force the teens to think about how their behavior is affecting their parents/guardians. Played straight if they have younger siblings.
  • Troubled Child
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Either in full video or text/photo format, most of the teens' stories will be followed up on at the end of each episode.


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alternative title(s): Beyond Scared Straight
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