Opinions on ''Beyond Scared Straight''

For those unaware, ‘‘Beyond Scared Straight’’ was an A&E TV series that ran from 2011 to 2015. The point of the show was for ‘‘misbehaving youths’’ to spend a week in prison so they would get a crash course in what to expect if they didn’t get their ‘‘act’’ together. All 83 episodes of BSS were filmed in state and county prisons ( not juvenile prisons ) across the southern United States whose prisons make up the heart of the USA’s atrociously corrupt prison industrial complex.

During their stay in these prisons, the children would share a space with adult pedophiles, rapists, and murderers all while facing ceaseless torment from the prison guards. Officially, all children on the series signed a waiver for the TV show but they were usually forced to sign these waivers by their parents and actual police were called to escort them to the prison where the series was being filmed. Inmates within the prisons were often forced to harass the children to put on a show.

The series was and still is highly controversial.

It seems that a sizeable majority of American parents had generally favorable views towards BSS while an overwhelming majority of child psychologists called it ‘‘child abuse-based entertainment’’. Child psychologists were largely responsible for getting the series canceled, much to the chagrin of the American public.

I have a few foreign friends who were genuinely shocked that such a program could even exist, when a Finnish friend saw the series for the first time, he told me ‘‘You Americans are really fucked up, you know that?’’

My mother was a fan of the show and she still supports its concept, citing that she would have had my younger brother put on the show if it was still running. I’m pretty much the only person in my family who thinks the series was child abuse entertainment.

What are your thoughts on this series?

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I havent looked into it too deeply but it seems really abusive

Are they actually claiming this? Minors cannot sign liability waivers. While entertainment contracts (which is what this is) are quite different from most other types of employment where minors are concerned, that’s one thing that stays the same.

Yeah… that’s the official claim and it was subject to a great deal of scrutiny by critics of the series for those very same reasons.

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This was shown in the UK for a while. I didn’t see the programme, but I do remember one of the trailers (CBS here has a habit of showing the same trailer every time, regardless of the actual content of each episode).

In one shot, one of the children was obviously in distress and on the verge of tears. This kid looked like he was 12 or something. Whoever thought that this sort of thing was a good idea must have something wrong with them.

I ought to add that if done properly this type of project can be effective; we had a scheme where former (and sometimes current) prisoners would visit schools and give talks on their criminal history and prison life. This produced a significant reduction in youth offending, but was stopped because of the expense involved, as well as some political pressure.

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My state had a similar system, the issue with that system was that letting inmates talk to students often allowed the students to understand that inmates were human just like them and that the justice system was corrupt. The state couldn’t let young people gain a nuanced understanding of the justice system so they stopped that program in order to uphold the status quo.

The state needs people to fear prison and the inmates within.


Even in today’s uneducated, profane, and obscene culture, not all people are such barbarians as to need to fear the law in order to obey it. In the free world, law exists to assist its citizens, not to oppress them.


Well, I guess abusing children in a setting where they cannot escape, filming said abuse, distributing the recordings and making a profit from that is totally fine as long as the majority finds it entertaining?


Apparently as long as their clothes stay on, it is.


Pretty much.

As I said in another post. Americans seem to be cool with watching kids be abused and even murdered but under no circumstances should they ever be sexualized.


Well, time to go all in on guro and snuff, then. When “society” or “the people” or “public morals” or whatever other else garbage tries to force my hand to go in a particular direction, I go hard in the opposite one.

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