What to expect from a scared straight programScared straight programs were established decades ago and primarily used to deter juvenile crime. The goal of a scared straight program is to, hopefully, stop poor behavior before it escalates to the point of no return for a teen. There are several options offered by scared straight programs, based upon the ages of the teens and the type of service needed. For many, the direction of the scared straight program will have juveniles spending time in an adult prison. From here, they will experience every scary aspect of being in an adult prison. Here are a few facts to be aware of:
- Teens between the ages of 10 and 18 can qualify for being sent into a scared straight program.
- Teens who are juvenile delinquents or at risk of becoming juvenile delinquents are the target for scared straight programs.
- Just as adults are unique in their needs, so are teens. Teens can be a challenge to understand and won’t necessarily fit into a limited and controlling program.
- Most scared straight programs have a low rate of success. With added therapy and rebuilding the confidence of a struggling teen, there is more success seen.
What kinds of programs can help troubled teens?If your teen has been struggling, it can be hard to find the right program to help him. Parents may reach a point of feeling completely helpless and desperate for any solution. This is why parents often turn to scared straight programs. In truth, parents and teens are better served turning to a program that helps to address the individual needs of the teen in crisis. What does this look like?
- A program that offers a careful evaluation of your teen to get the correct diagnosis for him. Your teen’s poor decisions and bad behaviors may be due to undiagnosed mental illness or trauma. Getting the right diagnosis is essential for ensuring that he can get the proper help he needs.
- An environment that is structured, warm, caring, and focused on helping him to meet his mental wellness goals. Sometimes teens do better when they’re allowed to heal and grow in an environment removed from their home life.
- Targeted therapy that addresses their needs. This could include individual, group, and family therapy options.
- A space that encourages personal accountability for a teen who perhaps hasn’t had to be held accountable for taking care of himself and his needs.