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Scared Straight! 20 Years Later (1999)

Adults meet up with the people who changed their lives twenty years ago, by confronting them about their lifestyles as teenagers.






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Adults meet up with the people who changed their lives twenty years ago, by confronting them about their lifestyles as teenagers.

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Crime | Documentary





Release Date:

15 April 1999 (USA)  »

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Followed by Beyond Scared Straight (2011) See more »

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Maybe The Thought Of Prison Does Work ?
2 September 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

I'd never seen the original documentary SCARED STRAIGHT but was aware of it due to an edition of NEWSROUND where a new shock therapy program of sending some low grade juvenile delinquents to a maximum security prison , in this case Rahway penitentiary in New Jersey and let the hardened convicts tell the kids the reality of life in prison means . This is a follow up program to the original legendary ground breaking documentary and don't worry if you have haven't seen the original because it's played in full

That's what shocked me . The inmates from the 1978 documentary are so like a parody of characters from the meanest Scorsese movie I had to research it on the internet to constantly remind myself they weren't actors being directed by Marty . Honestly one inmate growls at one of the smiling delinquents that you're instantly reminded of Joe Pesci in GOODFELLAS and can't help thinking this inspired the " What'd ya mean I'm a funny guy? " scene in that movie . The profanities come thick and fast but are almost as articulate as they are spontaneous and vicious . You watch a film like FULL METAL JACKET with constant bad language but seems totally contrived compared to the words and scenes in SCARED STRAIGHT , but let's not forget the people in Rahway are real hard men doing real hard time with an unhealthy morbid interest in sex and violence , or rather combining the two things at the same time . You have no interest in being on the receiving end of anal sex ? Neither do I but these convicts aren't they type of people who understand the word " No "

Since SCARED STRAIGHT made so many headlines in 1978 it's not surprising that so many of the youths turned over a new leaf . One can imagine if the reactions weren't filmed then the hyperbole and the need to state " Oh jail is no big deal " to ones peers might have happened but the terrifying reactions to the vicious insults and threats gives these young silly kids a save facing exercise . Let's be honest would you want to be locked up with these violent hardened criminals 24/7 ? . As one inmate informs the youngsters a man got sentenced to three to five years but never got released because he was stabbed to death in the penitentiary over a trivial matter

This follow up show made twenty years later follows the lives of what happened to both inmates and visitors and with the exception of one person none of the kids became career criminals . Indeed most of the kids did very well for themselves . Some of the inmates also managed to turn their lives around and what I found interesting is how much religion took the place of drink and drugs in the criminals lives . I guess it's a case of substituting one type of opiate for another . Unfortunately you can never save some people from themselves and several of the inmates died in the 20 years past due to drug overdoses or AIDS . And remember just about the easiest way to catch AIDS is to be gang raped . You have been warned

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