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Md., Calif. suspend ‘scared straight’ programs

HAGERSTOWN — Maryland and California say they have suspended youthful offender prison diversion programs featured on the television show, “Beyond Scared Straight,” after the federal government warned they could lose funding.

A prison agency spokesman in South Carolina, which was also featured on the A&E Network series, said Friday that he expects their diversion program to be reviewed by the incoming corrections chief.

The Justice Department says research indicates scared-straight programs don’t deter teenagers from offending; in fact, they were more likely to offend in the future.

The agency says states that run such programs risk having their federal funding cut if they don’t comply with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.