Chester Co. Sheriff’s youth program featured on TV’s ‘Scared Straight’ tonight

A program designed to curb at-risk youth from winding up in handcuffs by having them spend a night at the Chester County Detention Center will be featured on national television Thursday night.

The A&E channel's "Beyond Scared Straight" program will showcase the Chester County Sheriff's Office Project STORM (Showing Teens Our Real Mission) as the second episode of its seventh season. It airs at 10 p.m. Thursday. The show goes behind-the-scenes of detention centers and jails across the nation as law enforcement expose troubled teens to incarceration in hopes of changing their mindsets and discouraging them from continued criminal behavior before it’s too late.

Last year, the Chester County Sheriff's Office unveiled Project STORM in hopes of giving troubled teens a reality check of what life is really like behind bars so they'll make changes in their lives before they ever appeared before a judge.

As he campaigned for election in 2012, Sheriff Alex Underwood said he wanted to start more programs targeting the county's youth.

At its inception last summer, the program first started enrolling boys, but later expanded to include girls, as well. It's fully funded by registration fees. Parents pay $25 to enroll their children in the program.

Once the teens are say goodbye to their parents, they're at the mercy of law enforcement. Behind bars, they eat what correction officers tell them to eat, do what they're told to do and spend time among inmates who regale them with tales of what they can expect from a life as a criminal.

A&E is channel 149 for Comporium subscribers and channel 265 for DirecTV customers.

See a preview below: