Man gets early prison release for ‘Scared Straight’ sentence

AKRON (AP) — A county judge in Ohio granted early release Tuesday to a man she sentenced to nearly six years in prison last year for running a self-styled “Scared Straight” program in schools.

Summit County Judge Christine Croce told 28-year-old Christopher Hendon at a hearing in Akron that he has an opportunity to “make a difference in your community,” the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Hendon has served 19 months of the sentence he received in March 2018 after striking a deal with prosecutors and pleading guilty to 31 counts on charges that included impersonating a police officer, abduction and kidnapping.

Prosecutors said Hendon wore a badge and carried a firearm and a stun gun when he falsely told officials at two Akron-area schools that he was an officer for a program meant to scare children into avoiding bad behavior. Hendon was not a certified police officer.

Investigators said he tried to bring handcuffed children into the Summit County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center.

Hendon will participate in a re-entry program that transitions people from prison back into society.

A message seeking comment was left with Hendon’s attorney.