Reality Check Program’s Top 5 Q&A by Larry Lawton
1. Question: Larry, is your Reality Check Program a scared straight program?
The short answer is NO. Let me explain what the Reality Check Program is. It is REALITY coming from a man who was in prison for 11 straight years. I take the good parts of the old scared straight program and incorporate it in the Reality Check Program and the Reality Check Program DVD. I don’t yell, scream, get in a kids face or anything like that. What I do is tell them the truth. I don’t sugarcoat it and it sometimes gets very graphic. It is Not what they see on MSNBC jail shows, or what they hear from friends. Prison is no joke and they need to see the real deal. I am a man who was tortured by guards, thrown in the “hole” for fighting the deaths of friends, given inadequate medical care and I could go on and on. Check out the press article on the website which talks about Abu Ghraib right here in the US.
Also check out Identifying at-risk teens under “information” on the website. Go through the website and you will learn a lot. The DVD is a 67 minute version of the actual 3 hour program. The DVD is used by Judges, Law Enforcement, Organizations and families all over the country. It is an eye-opener. I think every family needs a Reality Check Program DVD to show kids what will happen if they make bad choices. Let’s get the kids BEFORE they make the bad choices. The DVD is for ALL families and kids. It’s all about being pro-active. Don’t wait until your loved one is arrested or worse. We have Juvenile and Adult programs and the DVD is for both.
2. Question: Is prison abuse as wide spread as you write about? I rarely read stuff about it.
I have been commenting on an article titled, “Inmate died in agony while pleading for help”. What people don’t understand is, sadly this happens all the time. Go on the Internet and Google Stanford Study. It is a very interesting prison study Stanford University did. Short version, it was about power. When people are given authority over other people they sometimes get on a power trip.
You don’t hear about regular abuses in the prison system because the prison system is a closed environment. The prison administration controls mail, phone privileges, visits and even the media.
You do hear about some stuff, only when it slips out. I don’t bash guards as I remember a few guards who saved my life in prison. Not all guards are on power trips but sadly, some are. I believe it has a lot to do with screening, leadership, and lack of oversight.
Just remember, while you are sleeping comfortably in your bed tonight someone in a US prison is being abused. I say that with conviction because I know it to be true.
19 year old son is going away to college
3. Question: My 19 year old son is going away to college. Is there anything I can do to encourage him on the company he keeps and the choices he will be making?
Answer: This is a good question because when a loved one goes away he tends to either be a follower or a leader. I hope he is a leader. I always recommend you purchase two of our Reality Check Program DVD’s.Keep one and watch it yourself. You can then talk to your son about making choice with some serious consequences; consequences that you probably never had to endure. Say something like this, “Be careful tonight, and remember what Mr. Lawton went through”. Never harp on your son. Remind him to watch the DVD with his new found friends. They will all think before they act. He is an adult, but will always be your son. Opening and keeping an open dialogue is the best thing you can do to help your young adult son.
Good luck and I applaud you for being pro-active.
4. Question: My 21 year old son was arrested on a possession charge – under 20 grams. He hasn’t been in trouble in over a year. He was on probation for possession of a gun and had minor traffic charges. What can I expect the court to do?
Answer: Since you said he WAS on probation, I have to assume he is not on any kind of supervision at all. Here’s the bigger picture, is your son “getting it”? It’s time to grow up. Minor charges such as traffic infractions, are a sign that your son still needs to grow up. The gun charge is a whole different story.
As far as what you can expect, it all depends on the Judge. It is a misdemeanor and that is a good thing. By law, a misdemeanor is a charge that doesn’t carry a sentence of over a year. What most Judges do is try to find a way for a young person to wake-up. That is why they use the Reality Check Program. Your son definitely needs the Reality Check Program to see where he is headed if he keeps on this path.
As the mother, don’t wait for the Judge to try and open your sons’ eyes. You do it. Go on-line and buy the Reality Check Program DVD. Use promo code “Larry” and get a $10 discount. The DVD is only forty bucks and it just might save his life. Now it’s thirty. No excuses.
Don’t make excuses for your son. Help him. – Larry Lawton
5. Question: I am a stay at home Mom and went through my 15 year old son’s dresser drawer and found a knife. He said it was something everyone carried. I am very concerned. What do I do?
Answer: First I would like to applaud you for going through your sons dresser draw. A lot of parents think that is an invasion of their son or daughters privacy. NOT! You have the right and should go through cell phones, computers, and anything else you feel you need to go through to watch over your son or daughter.
Parents have to get it through their heads they are not their kid’s friend, they are their parent. There will be plenty of time for friendship when they are older. What I mean by “not” being your son or daughters friend, I mean you have to make the decisions that will help them through the tough teen years. When a child makes a bad choice, you as a parent have to give the consequences for that bad choice. Friends don’t do that, parents do.
You love your child so much that doling out discipline hurts you as much as them. Ultimately, it is a necessity. Remember, children want discipline. It shows them they are loved and not just thrown to the curb and you don’t care what they do.
Finding your sons knife could mean a few things. If it was in plain sight he might have wanted you to find it. It gives him an excuse to tell his friends his parents found the knife and he is in deep trouble and can’t hang out with them anymore. He might want that excuse to get away from those kids. If you had to search for the knife, you will have to find out if he is being bullied, in a gang, in real fear for some reason. Talk to your son. Communications is the key. The “everyone carries a knife” is not an answer.
The crowd he is associating with can be the problem. Is your son a follower or a leader? These are questions you have to ask yourself. Getting to the bottom of “why” he had a knife is very important. Nothing good can come from a child having a weapon. Ultimately, he has to understand that.
He definitely needs the Reality Check Program. I show teens what will happen when a person has a weapon and gets caught by the police. I show some graphic pictures of a young man who was shot. What a weapon can really do.
Remember to be positive with your child. Always being negative breeds a feeling of worthlessness and a feeling that whatever they do it is not enough. Whenever you educate your child, show the positive and then point out the fault.
There are no set punishment guidelines for parents. The consequences have to equal the bad choice your son made. There are resources out there to help. Visit our website at Lawton911 for additional answers and resources.
Being a parent is a “full” time job and I applaud all stay at home parents. People, who think women or men who don’t work the traditional job aren’t working, are sadly mistaken. A stay at home parent (when it can be done) is a very important job.
And lastly, LOVE! We all need love and a growing child is no exception. Teens have hormone issues, peer pressure issues, school issues and on and on. Life is all about education. Never stop teaching.