WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Eighth graders from Memorial School recently paid a visit to the Passaic County Jail, where they received a tour and learned about the facility and the inmates that it houses as part of the “Reality Check” program.

The program gives them a closer look and a taste of what the consequences are of making poor decisions.

The  program is designed, not so much as a “scared straight” approach, but an experience with prisoners who “keep it real” in their presentation about how their lives and the lives of their loved ones have drastically changed as a result of bad decision-making.

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After a tour of the facility, which includes inmate housing areas and a look at what inmates eat, students take part in a panel of selected inmates.

“It was an emotional experience for them,” said guidance counselor Kerry McGlame. “They see that it’s not TV drama – this is real.”

After the trip, Detective Mack and Detective Kaba with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Division visited the school as a follow up to the trip. While the jail trip is optional, McGlame said about 60-70 percent of students attend.