Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide ~ Reality Check Program DVD – This documentary features ex-convict Lawrence Lawton explaining his harrowing time behind bars, and educating viewers on how they can make the right choices so they don’t follow in his footsteps. Aimed primarily at teens, Lawton’s forceful stories detail how making the right decisions early in life can lead to a much happier existence.
Bob Peterson, Denver Colorado – Thanks Reality Check, this DVD program gave my son back to us. It is helping him to make good choices. He is at risk as all teenagers are, now he thinks before he acts – he does not want to ruin his life because of a stupid mistake.
Jeff Kottkamp, Lieutenant Governor of Florida – “Larry Lawton’s ‘Reality Check’ program is not only impactful—it has the potential to be life changing. Children that watch the program will learn some very valuable life lessons.”
Bill Cassara, New York – “In 30 years of working in television news programs (60-minutes, 20/20) I would count Larry Lawton’s “Reality Check” DVD as one of the most important videos for teens and young adults. It’s tough talk from a man who knows first-hand about how easy it is to make poor choices. Larry Lawton’s Reality Check Program is making a difference”
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School Library Journal, February 1, 2010
Gr 7 Up—Lawrence Lawton admits to making many bad choices in his life, some of which led him to spend 11 years in prison for racketeering and other crimes. He lost his family and was denied many freedoms taken for granted by most of us. From the perspective of someone who has “been there,” he developed this program as part of a broader series of services (realitycheckprogram.org) which aim to help teenagers and young adults avoid a similar fate. In clear and sometimes explicit language, he shares exactly what occurs in prisons on a daily basis as well as the long-term consequences of an arrest record and incarceration. His emphasis throughout is on good decision making, especially in the choice of friends. It’s not as if young people haven’t heard these warnings before, but this time they come from a person who speaks from first-hand experience. The program, which offers a chapter selection option, employs prison photographs which might be unsettling to viewers, but that’s exactly the reaction desired. Lawton, who is now a paralegal, stresses that young people can easily lose many of their prime years in a hostile, threatening, and sometimes deadly environment and then return to an unforgiving society. The presentation sometimes seems preachy and canned, which may turn off some of those he is trying to reach, but getting through to even one potential inmate makes it all worth while. The film can be used in a variety of individual, school, and community settings. A careful preview is warranted before purchase, but school support staff members may welcome this title.—Dwain Thomas, formerly of Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL