Multiple shows and songs reference the Scared Straight programs.

Hardcastle and McCormick

"Scared Stiff" (Season 1, Episode 23, aired April 1, 1984) involved teenage boys being taken to a state prison to scare them out of further crimes.

The Adventures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids

In "Busted" (Season 8, Episode 8, aired October 20, 1984), after the main protagonists are arrested for being accessories to grand theft auto -- they had accepted a ride from their new friend, Larry, who admits only after initiating a police pursuit that he had just stolen the car -- the police sergeant and court agree to drop the charges against the Cosby Kids... but only after giving them a tour of a maximum-security prison, where the kids are frightened by the inmates and their behavior. In the end, the Cosby Kids vow to stay out of trouble and promptly disassociate with Larry.

Get a Life

"Bored Straight" (Season 1, Episode 9, aired December 2, 1990) involved teenage boys being taken to a state prison to scare them out of further crimes.

Married... with Children

"Rites of Passage" (Season 6, Episode 16, aired February 9, 1992) has Al saying how the Department of Juvenile Corrections bused some juveniles to his shoe store and made them spend over 3 hours watching Al work to show why it was so important to stay out of trouble and in school until even the most hardened punk was "crying like a baby".

Beavis and Butt-Head

In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Scared Straight" (Season 3, Episode 11, aired September 27, 1993), Beavis and Butt-Head are sent to prison for a day as part of a Scared Straight program. They end up befriending some inmates who share their passion for heavy metal music, and decide to sneak back in to stay longer.

Arrested Development

In "Notapusy" (Season 3, Episode 4, aired November 7, 2005), a former prison inmate mistakes a gay conversion therapy seminar entitled "Startled Straight" for a Scared Straight!-type program and lectures the group of men about the horrors of incarceration, especially the prevalence of homosexual prison sex.


Rap artist GZA utilised samples of Peter Falk's narration for the song "Path of Destruction" from the album 'Pro Tools' (2007).

Saturday Night Live

Between 2008 and 2012, Saturday Night Live satirized Scared Straight!-type programs in a series of eight sketches.

As part of the Scared Straight program, Officer Sikorsky (Jason Sudeikis) invites two imprisoned convicts, Lorenzo MacIntosh (Kenan Thompson) and another played by the episode's host, to speak to three young hoodlums (Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan and Andy Samberg) about the horrors of prison life. However, each story the convicts tell is easily recognized by the kids as the plotline from a feature film. As they identify each movie, the convicts turn the film into a reference to prison rape (for example, following The Wizard of Oz: "It won't be a lion, a tin man and a scarecrow. It'll be you, lying down, while ten men make you a scared ho!").

Season Episode Host Notes
33 May 10, 2008 Shia LaBeouf LaBeouf appears as one of the teenagers (with Hader and Samberg); Lorenzo MacIntosh (Thompson) is the only convict. Gone in 60 Seconds, The Goonies, Weekend at Bernie's.
34 November 15, 2008 Paul Rudd Rudd appears as one of the teenagers (with Hader and Samberg); Lorenzo MacIntosh (Thompson) is the only convict.
34 March 14, 2009 Tracy Morgan Morgan plays fellow convict Kendrick MacEntire. Sideways, Groundhog Day, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
35 November 7, 2009 Taylor Swift Swift plays "Skeet Devlin", a male fellow convict.
35 January 9, 2010 Charles Barkley Barkley plays Lorenzo MacIntosh's father.
35 May 8, 2010 Betty White White plays Lorenzo MacIntosh's grandmother and fellow convict, Loretta MacIntosh. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz
36 March 12, 2011 Zach Galifianakis Galifianakis plays a dangerously psychotic convict forced to wear a strait jacket and be tied to a board to speak to the young punks.
37 March 4, 2012 Lindsay Lohan Lindsey Lohan plays herself - a fellow convict.

This sketch was included in the dress rehearsal for the October 8, 2011, episode (hosted by Ben Stiller), but was cut for the final broadcast.

The Boondocks

"A Date with the Booty Warrior" (Season 3, Episode 9, aired June 27, 2010) features a group of children participating in a program called "Scared Stiff." However, the program is subverted when the children and prisoners collaborate to organize a prison strike.

Tom Segura

Comedian Tom Segura referenced Scared Straight '99 in his Netflix comedy special Tom Segura: Mostly Stories (released January 8, 2016).