Ask Joe: Does Washoe County have a "Scared Straight" program?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 8/12/2014 6:22 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- One of our viewers has a question about a program designed to prevent crime.

Dan Taelour wrote in asking if Washoe County has a "Scared Straight" program for troubled teens. These are programs are designed to scare teens into staying away from crime by giving them an up-close look at prison life.

Joe checked with Liz Florez, one of the directors at Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center in Reno.

She says Washoe County does not have a scared straight program and for good reason; she say studies have shown they don't work.

Joe did a little research himself and found the American Parole and Probation Association also says scared straight programs are not effective.  

Their research found what gets through to teens is swift punishment and the certainty of receiving punishment. Scared straight programs or prison tours don't really accomplish either of those and that's why many experts say they don't work.

Some states still use them, but in many areas they have fallen out of favor and are no longer utilized as a means of scaring kids into staying on the right path.

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