Teens spend the night in jail for "scared straight" program - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Teens spend the night in jail as part of "scared straight" program

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Parents of teenage children are probably very familiar with the expression "tough love," but a Richland County program that involves throwing your kid in jail for a night takes it to a whole new level.

"I love each and every one of 'em, and that's why I decide to do this," said Deputy Kelvin Griffin. "To give something back."
     
Friday night, 11 Richland County girls were brought together by their bad decisions. Two were shoplifters, one had a problem with curfew, and another disrespected her parents.
     
All of them spent a night in jail to see what could await them down the road. "A lot of kids think they're going to go to jail and just lie down and do their time," said Griffin. "But you don't just lay down in the jail, there's consequences behind your actions and that's what you've got to show these kids."      

If it seems harsh, it's because it is. The deputies-turned-drill sergeants say -- it's the only way. "If we didn't do it that way, they'd probably treat us the same way they treat most of the other adults they came in contact with," said Investigator Gerald Walls.
     
Kayron Rogers has a 20-year-old son doing time for armed robbery, and is one of several speakers that try to show these kids the light. "He should have two years of college behind him, instead he's got two years of sitting in jail behind him," said Rogers.
     
More often than not, deputies say their work pays off. "They'll come up to you all the time," said Griffin. "I don't remember all of them -- we've had almost 6,000 kids go through the program -- but they know you and they'll come up and say 'I'm doin good I'm not doing anything wrong,' and that makes me happy."
     
If you think your child needs a big night in the big house, they have to be between the age 12-16. You must also be a resident of Richland County.

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