Beyond Scared Straight

Follow-up: Lake County, FL

Premiere Date: November 1, 2012

In the swamplands of Lake County, Florida, troubled teens have little to do but act out and break the law. Mariah, 13, an angry thug who got into physical fights with school officials and family members, was shocked to discover a member of her own family behind bars.


Mariah

Mariah

At the Conclusion of Production:
Focused on basketball and staying home, Mariah has now stopped fighting. Her mom says she has completely changed since the jail visit.

Latest Update: February 2013:
Mariah entered Lake County Jail with an aggressive and disrespectful attitude. She was determined to make the deputies' jobs as difficult as possible. "When I first arrived at the jail," she recalls, "and the deputies were in my face, I had an attitude to where I was going to go in there and really, like, make them have the worst day possible."

However, during the tour she was moved by the experience of seeing her cousin locked up behind bars as well as inspired by an officer's pep talk challenging her to focus on her love of basketball. The officers taught her to take the respect she felt for her fellow players and extend it to others.

Six months after the jail tour, Mariah has changed her ways. She hasn't been involved in fighting and, as her mother told producers, "She's trying to squash all the beef with everyone she has beef with."

Her dedication to her basketball team has allowed her to focus her energy on achieving goals. She has found new friends, and enjoys spending time with her family. She says, "Before I was angry basically all the time unless I got my way. But whether I get my way or not, I'm still gonna smile, I'm still gonna be happy. It feels better to be this way."

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