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Beyond Scared Straight is an A&E reality show that follows state-sponsored programs that send at-risk teens into prison to get a glimpse of what their lives will be like if they continue down the paths they're currently on.
- Abusive Parents: Various examples from both the teens and the inmates they meet.
- Break the Cutie
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Send prospective jail-bound teens into the very place they may one day end up?
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Downer Ending: Whenever it's revealed that any of the teens ended up either in jail or military school anyway, post-filming.
- Heel Face Turn: In contrast to above, most of the teens are so scarred by their prison visits that they turn their lives around to focus on school, jobs, and family.
- Let Me At Him: Sometimes yelled by restrained inmates at some of the younger/prettier teens.
- Mood Whiplash: After all the yelling, screaming, and scare tactics are over, the inmates leading the group are matched one-on-one with each of the teens for a heartfelt talk.
- Arguably, an in-show example as well. Watch how quickly the teens' demeanor turn from smug to grim.
- No Indoor Voice: Many of the inmates.
- Not So Different: Often revealed to the kids during said heartfelt talks.
- Parental Abandonment
- Prison Rape: Let's just say the issue comes up.
- Reality Ensues: You think it's cool and fun to go to jail? Wait until you're actually there.
- Scare'Em Straight: The premise of the show.
- Tears of Fear: The kids will often burst out into these midway through the visit.
- Troubled Child
- What an Idiot!/Too Dumb to Live: What else can you say about the ones who end up right back in jail?
- Or the ones who on the ride to jail, say it'll be fun. Oy.
- Or the ones who feel the need to smile, laugh, and joke in front of the dangerous and sadistic inmates.
- Special mention goes to one kid in the season 2 premier.
Correctional Officer: Who you influenced by?
Moron Kid: My favorite rapper.
C.O.: Who's your favorite rapper?
Moron Kid: Lil' Boosie
- For those who don't know, Lil Boosie is currently incarcerated, and has been since before this show began airing.
- Or the girl who thought it would be a good idea to swing on a corrections officer.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Either in full video or text/photo format, most of the teens' stories will be followed up on at the end of each episode.