Not as good as it sounds. Ed Wood often had decent ideas for potentially entertaining movies, but they were ruined by his terrible, preachy dialogue, and The Violent Years is sadly no exception. The judge's lengthy closing speech about how parents need to pay more attention to their children and bring them back to God to keep them out of gangs just made me want to take away his cue cards and punch him in the face.
Scripted by Ed Wood, it's entertaining B-movie cheese. Fast-paced and slathered in ham-fisted moralizing about the responsibility of parenting and just how bad things have gotten these days, it doesn't quite reach the surreal heights of some of the best of these kinds of movies, but it's a good time for cult movie fans.