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An innovative juvenile crime prevention program, in which criminals who were kids were taken to actual prisons. The prisioners who lived there would then scare them with stories of homosexual rape. If nothing else, it pushed the envelope in terms of cursing on TV when PBS ran cocumentaries about the program. Universally the program was deemed a failure.

Why the program was deemed to be a failure was simply this: most of the kids weren't scared at all. With the universal bravado of most adolescents, they didn't see the bad parts of prison life to be all that horrible: after all, they reasoned, they wouldn't be raped...only the weaklings, the old, and the stupid would do that! Being young, the rest of prison life didn't seem particularly scary either: being already in high school and in some cases juvenile detention the lack of freedom seemed trivial, and in some ways more liberating.

Instead, they took the cons as role models: who wouldn't want to have tattoos, be universally pheared, and live a life of crime? Even the most law-abiding of adults has, at one time, toyed with the idea of being a pirate, gentleman highwayman, or a mafioso -- the tough talk, fearsome crimes, and show of muscle sounded more like being a real-life action hero than a pathetic loser who would, most probably, never have a family or a real job. With that in mind, most of the kids told the interviewers what they wanted to hear, and turned around and did whatever they damn pleased.

Unfortunately, the public didn't get to hear this part of the story, and the legend goes on that crypto-punitive tough love programs are amazingly successful.

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