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01 November 2012

"Beyond Scared Straight" and the Reinforcement of Deviance

A&E has a series titled Beyond Scared Straight. Check out this clip:

There are several other clips available, much like the one above.

Ironically, as the Justice Department takes steps to make prisons safer for inmates, this show and the program it follows encourage inmates to threaten at-risk youth with violence in order to scare them into reform. It seems likely, however, that such psychological violence and physical threats serve to reinforce the very violent, hyper-masculine posturing that leads young men (and, increasingly, young women) to be incarcerated. These kinds of approaches satisfy the audience's conservative desire for crime deterrence but might actually be perpetuating the problems they hope to allay.

Here is a comical take:

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