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"Beyond Scared Straight" is A & E's new innovative and edgy series that shadows the most disrespectful and defiant of teens, as they progress through juvenile jail programs designed to deter them from becoming criminals. This series is now in its third season. This outstanding cable television show was taken from Arnold Shapiro's 1978 award-winning documentary entitled Scared Straight, which followed juvenile delinquents as they took part in a confrontational session with actual prison convicts. The episodes in this newer epic show depict at-risk teens who have experienced problems of drug addiction, gambling, gang-related issues, fighting, promiscuity, and theft. These troubled adolescents are compelled to serve a day in jail, where they interact with the inmates there, really getting to see what their future might hold, if they don't reform. For some of these young people, this experience turns them around, while others persist in their chosen, self-destructive paths.

The premiere episode takes place in Boston, MA, where teens are defined by their gang affiliations, which also follows them into prison, creating conflict there, as well. In this first show of the season, two girls collide, named Jahmiya and Thalia. The first young lady is both tenacious and larcenous, and ultimately forms alliances with other girls who gang up on Thalia, a serious bully, who's even fought her own grandmother. However, Thalia meets her match as the group of girls led by Jahmiya, force and bully her into eating her prison food. This and other troubling incidents provide viewers and the errant girls with a ringside seat at this prison slice of life, and it is most brutal and demeaning.

As the season progresses, the offending teens visit the morgue. Also, a big brother is made to see how he could actually cause his younger brother to end up in a body bag. There is a shocking scene where a young lady who has been having a lot of indiscriminate sex, is forced to perform like a stripper, right in front of her mother! In addition, a white supremacist is exposed to the group anger of black inmates. Finally, the notorious convict "Ice Mike" comes back from the previous season, and terrorizes the teens with his various shocking and humiliating actions. This all in an effort to turn the teens away from future lives of crime in this most gritty and enlightening television show.

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Thursdays at 10:00 pm on A&E
7 Seasons, 71 Episodes - Currently Airing
Documentary & Biography
7.2/10
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Beyond Scared Straight Full Episode Guide

  • A young gang member gets a taste of prison life in Georgia.

  • When sixteen-year-old fighter Timothy disrespects a judge, he must pay the consequences.

  • A defiant 15-year-old fighter who thrives on violence gets a taste of what life is like in jail.

  • In San Bernardino, CA, Angel, 14, becomes more dangerous at home compared to the time he spends with gang-members on the streets.

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