I can remember back in high school when we were shown the Academy Award winning documentary "Scared Straight." The film takes a group of juvenile offenders into the maximum-security New Jersey state prison, Rahway (now known as East Jersey State Prison). There, the young offenders are introduced to some "lifers." 

In the film, according to Wikipedia:

...the subject of the documentary is a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts. Filmed at Rahway State Prison, a group of inmates known as the "lifers" berate, scream at, and terrify the young offenders in an attempt to "scare them straight," (hence the film's title), so that those teenagers will avoid prison life. At film's end, the teenagers say that they have decided that they don't want to end up in jail. The film ends with a "roll call" of the teens, revealing that most were "scared straight", though a few were said to have reoffended.

Although my peers and I were not juvenile offenders, the film worked on us. Not that any of us were considering a life of crime to begin with, but after seeing Scared Straight we knew where we definitely didn't want to wind up.

Nevertheless, the Illinois Department of Corrections says that in 2015, Illinois housed over 45,000 inmates in our state's 25 correctional facilities. Kevin Hoffman, writing for Reboot Illinois, takes a look at the 10 most common crimes that got those inmates tossed in jail:

  1. DUI (1601 incarcerated, 3.4%)
  2. Other Sex Offenses (1710 incarcerated, 3.6%)
  3. Residential Burglary (1828 incarcerated, 3.9%)
  4. Burglary (2449 incarcerated, 5.2%)
  5. Armed Robbery (2866 incarcerated, 6.1%)
  6. Weapons (3109 incarcerated, 6.6%)
  7. Assaultive (3945 incarcerated, 8.4%)
  8. Sexual Assault (4297 incarcerated, 9.1%)
  9. Controlled Substance Act (8074 incarcerated, 17.1%)
  10. Homicide (8812 incarcerated, 18.7%)

By the way, if you think that someone in your life might need some of that Scared Straight motivation, YouTube is loaded with Scared Straight videos. After watching a couple of them this morning, I can attest that they work as well on me at age 52 as they did when I was 17.

Click here to Read Kevin Hoffman's full report at Reboot Illinois.