In last week’s episode of Loiter Squad, the players (that’s theater talk fam, ladies love a cultured gentleman) addressed the subject of jail, showing what happens when teens with crime on their minds come face to face with hardened felons, in a sketch called “Beyond Scared Straight.” The sketch is derived from the hit television series Scared Straight.
Originally airing in 1978, Scared Straight is an uncensored documentary in which a set of juvenile delinquents spend quality time with felons, some of which started out just like the teens that are the focus of the piece. The original documentary was filmed at the notorious Rahway State Prison, and includes a three hour session where inmates serving life sentences, aka “lifers,” break the kids down in order to get them to change their ways. The exchange is a no-holds-barred attempt to “scare them straight,” and gets so intense that even the camera-men aren’t safe from the fury of the inmates.
While the whimsy of the West Coast whippersnappers results in a hilarious exchange between Earl (the inmate) and the teens, Scared Straight is a very serious and very real situation.
How real? Well, let’s take a look a the history of the show and its craziest moments.