Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Scared Straight! was a 1978 Oscar-winning documentary about the crime-deterring Juvenile Awareness Program set up by the Rahway (New Jersey) State Prison. In this program, incorrigible teenagers were escorted into the prison's maximum security facilities, where a team of "lifers," using the foulest language imaginable, bombarded the kids with threats and admonitions; the intention was to literally scare the young troublemakers "straight." When the documentary was shown on TV in November of 1978, it carried a disclaimer, warning the viewers that the language was uninhibited; a similar warning preceded the 1980 telecast of the made-for-TV Scared Straight: Another Story. The film followed the format of the earlier documentary, with a few exceptions. Another Story was a dramatization, which spent as much time exploring the backgrounds of the kids chosen for the program as it did behind prison walls. Also, Scared Straight: Another Story was twice as long as the original Scared Straight--and while that didn't make the film twice as good, it certainly was head and shoulders over most other TV movies of the 1979-80 season.
delinquency, convict, going-straight, juvenile, officer, probation, probation-officer, reform [improve]