Some people are asking if a program aimed at helping at-risk youth turn around their bad behavior has gone too far.
"The parents have gotten to a point that they say, 'I need help. And I'm willing to come to law enforcement to get help,'" said Macon Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin.
The Bibb County, Georgia program is called Consider the Consequences.
"Consider the Consequences, at its basic level, is an attention-grabber for kids who've gone awry, kids who their parents can't connect with them anymore," said Colvin.
It's designed to prevent juvenile delinquency. Bibb County Sheriff David Davis says it's a wake-up call for kids aged 9-17.
"We've had them start stealing, we have them being disruptive at home, being disruptive in school, so their adult loved ones see something in their behavior that shows that they're going down the wrong path, so it's to intercede early to divert them into a different way of thinking and a different way of behaving," said Sheriff Davis.
"What I'm trying to do is talk about those things that matter, like respecting yourself, being honest in what you do, having integrity, because ultimately, those things will define who you become. And that determines whether you get a diploma, end up in a body bag or wear a jumpsuit," said Judge Colvin.
"They put on a jail uniform, they actually sit in a cell. Inmates come and talk with them," said Colvin. "They eat lunch at the jail. I think they even experience what it's like to have handcuffs on, so that they can the full flavor of where they're headed if they don't stop their behavior."
"Certainly Consider the Consequences has some elements of the old Scared Straight program, but we don't have the part of Scared Straight where you have these big burly inmates just screaming at the kids," said Davis.
Oh really? Once the sheriff left the jail and the bars slammed behind us, our crew was shocked at what went on: Prisoners berating and cursing at the children. Young girls ordered to clean the toilets of inmates without wearing gloves. Children thrown in cell blocks with hardened criminals, even murderers.
Clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Judy Ho says the only consequences of a program like this are bad consequences.
"A program like this can actually harm them. It can traumatize them. And what do traumatized children do? They often act out, they often turn to a path of crime, and as adults they end up back in the system where they were just an observer," said Dr. Ho.
After reviewing the Consider the Consequences program footage, at Crime Watch Daily we thought we needed to come back to the courthouse to sit down with Judge Verda Colvin and with Sheriff David Davis to get their reaction.
When we first told them about our footage, Bibb County emailed us back saying they had put the program on hold, and had launched an internal investigation.
"There's some intense scenes in that and sometimes the program is not meant to be on some levels that intense, but sometimes you have to reach these kids where they may be," said Davis.
Do you think that those children needed that?
"The ones that you have in there, yes," said Judge Colvin.
"I really applaud Judge Colvin for making this a priority," said Dr. Ho. "However, I don't really see the effects of the positive influence that she's talking about, and that really needs to be the core of a program like this."
Crime Watch Daily spoke to the mother of one of the children in the video. Did they tell her what would happen during the program?
"They told me some things," said Zanada Releford. "He told me that they went in the back and the inmates were yelling at the kids, with the push-ups and things like that.
"Wow," Releford said after watching the video.
What did little 9-year-old Travontae Releford learn from the program?
"They told me to stop stealing," Travontae said.
Is Zanada OK with everything that transpired?
"Yeah," she said.
Is Travontae going to stop stealing?
"Yes ma'am," he said. If he doesn't? "I'm going back to jail."
But just two weeks after his terrifying time behind bars, Travontae was in trouble again, suspended from the school bus for bad behavior.
Since viewing our video, Bibb County Sheriff Davis has now made changes, issuing new procedures for the deputies to follow.
"Overall this is a good program, and something like this shows that if there's any type of adjustments that need to be made, we'll certainly do it, but it certainly doesn't negate the good points of it and the positive impact that it's making," said Davis.
Despite the controversy, Judge Colvin still stands by this tough in-your-face approach. This no-nonsense judge says she keeps in regular contact with all the kids. In fact she calls them "Colvin's Gang." And she claims not one of them or their parents has ever filed a complaint
"If we give up on human beings, what is the point of all of this?" said Judge Colvin. "I know they can be great, and maybe nobody ever took the time to tell them that, but call me an eternal optimist -- because I am. I believe in the greatness of people."