A sheriff in Multnomah County, Oregon, is using before-and-after mugshots of young drug abusers in the prison system to scare children (and anyone) from using illegal drugs. Deputy Bret King compiled the contrasting mugshots from various substance abusers into a 48-minute documentary titled “From Drugs to Mugs” as a way to chronicle the shocking ways a young face can transform as a result of using crystal meth, cocaine, and other harmful substances. The results are frightening, to say the least.
The goal is to appeal to young people’s “sense of vanity.”
Deputy King’s film echoes the same themes in the 1978 documentary “Scared Straight,” where baby-faced juvenile delinquents were forced to endure 3-hour sessions with real life death row inmates in prison.
Are these scare tactics effective or do they cross the line? Reports suggest mixed results. No doubt (most) parents try their very best to keep their kids on the straight path. But when families and households are broken, and children are surrounded by overwhelmingly negative influences instead of love and affection, should the state step into the role of a “nanny” and scare our kids from going astray?
One could argue Deputy King’s video is no different than the public service announcements we saw on TV back in the day–just not as innocent! But times have changed, haven’t they? Kids are facing greater dangers, and drastic times call for drastic measures.
What’s the best strategy to knocking some sense into our young people so they don’t end up in prison?