|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on January 31, 2021 at 12:55 AM||comments ()|
This entry was written in 2009 on a website. The owner of the facility where the person who wrote the testimony was confined committed suicide after the authorities charged him with a crime. The victim wrote:
I have been thinking a lot lately about my 16 month stay at wellsprings academy back in Dec 2001- April 2003. I was there when it was shut down and all of us had to leave. I am now 23 and am still recovering from what I experienced there.
I was sent there because when I was 16 a became involved in drugs and alcohol. My parents we told it would be the best place for me. They were misinformed. My parents were terrified about my problems and wanted to desperately help me. While at wellspring I was confined to a small room in isolation for weeks on end. It was punishment for not behaving. I attempted to reach out to my parents but they had already been subject to my stories so they did not believe me. Furthermore the staff at wellspring assured them I was not being mistreated. I was also forced to participate in religious practices. If I did not I would be punished by ISS( in school suspention). This is what we had to refer to the isolation. The "students" or as I say prisoners referred privately to this punishment as the box. What I endured at wellspring effected me greatly.
When I was released I became a time bomb. I could not cope with this abuse. Even though I know now my actions were wrong and I take full responsibility for my actions I saught escape from what I felt. I turned to Herion to do this. I lived in a downward spiril until I was 21 years old. I destroyed everything around me. I finally got sober at 21. I was able to start dealing with all the feelings I felt. I am now 23 years old. I have been sober for over 2 years. I am back in school and am living a great life. Today I was thinking a lot about what happened and I hadn't heard anything about wellspring since I left back on that cold April day. I googled it and found this page. I can't say I was too upset to find that bob g. killed himself in 2008. I guess karma is working. I hope that we can just stop this "abuse" from happening to other families at other schools like Wellspring.
The original testimony on FICAN message board (link)
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on October 20, 2020 at 4:25 PM||comments ()|
I have waited a while to post this review. Our daughter went to TAR in July and was there for a little over 100 days. We ended up here because we were in crisis mode with her and had to make a quick decision. We were not sure what we were getting our selves into. This place requires careful consideration. The 100-day program (all-in) was about $60k. About what it would have cost us for a year at a therapeutic boarding school. Its a huge investment for 100 days. We live on the East Coast so travel there was incredibly hard - its a 5 hour drive traveling south of Salt Lake City or 5 hours north from Las Vegas. The reason for this poor rating was two-fold:
The reason I gave this at least one star is that there were people at the ranch that genuinely cared for our daughter and made some positive impact on her. You don't get to speak to them but you meet them when you go out to the ranch during mid-term and graduation.
Turn-About Ranch offers a 30-day return to the program if your child regresses. But I'm not sure I would go down that road if the 100+ days made no positive change.
Update on our situation 2/19/2020
As I sit behind my daughter in juvenile court - I’m reminded how much time and money was lost and how poor the care at the ranch was. My daughter reinforced how she coasted through the program. The letters she was forced/required to send home were all lies. I guess you rate a program like this based on its effectiveness and what your child takes away from the experience - our experience and her experience was obvious poor at best. We will most likely have to have her stay in a foster home for a period or move on to a therapeutic boarding school. I hindsight, that probably would have been the best bet. If you arrive in a situation that we have with our daughter it’s so important to slow down and evaluate options that will best benefit your child. The cost of this program in the end has limited out ability to finance the next steps to a boarding school. I will officially pay off the balance of the loan I took out to pay for the ranch on 12/1/2020. However we will do whatever is necessary to get our daughter back on track and hopefully set her up for future success.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 21, 2020 at 1:20 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog
Note: My time at TAR was voluntary. It resulted from my expulsion from a traditional boarding school that I loved, as a prerequisite for re-enrollment. Also, as an Elan history buff, I was curious about this industry. My experience took place in late Winter to early Spring of 2002.
I went to Turn About Ranch for "the minimum" 60 days because I began a letter-writing campaign to the educational consultant at the Department of State, my dad's employer. While she did not do anything besides force a stop-payment, it was still welcome.
TAR really ought to be shut down. It isn't brutal in the sense of WWASPS, but it's still incredibly twisted. The isolation, forced labor, antiquated gender roles, and mandatory Baptist instruction are sickening.
For the uninitiated, here's a general break-down of the system:
1st level: IMPACT/ROUNDY
During the first day at Roundy camp students are strip-searched, have their shoes taken away and replaced with old size 14 rubber boots (without laces). They are then told to sit in the dirt, surrounded by a 4x4 circle of rocks with a firepit and a plastic tarp/lean-to supported by cedar branches. They sit there from before dawn to well after, until the Level 2's are sent to bed.
This is called "impact".
During this time they are not allowed to talk (except to ask for water or food) and are forbidden to sleep except when the staff tells them to. They eat breakfast (oatmeal, cooked over their personal camp fire in an old coffee can), lunch ("trail mix," which is shredded coconut, Cheerios, and raisins), and dinner (which can vary from beans & lentils to Ramen noodles, depending on availability and behavior).
They are issued to blue Level 1-2 binder. At this time their only work is to write a letter to their parents, a letter to themselves (to be opened upon graduation), and to wait. Wait until advancement.
Level 2: ROUNDY
The students get their shoes back. Nor do they have to shit under supervision anymore, but it's still in the same port-o-potty (Staff, Boys, and Girls toilets are there, but are unlabeled so humiliation and punishment can be used against anyone using the "wrong one")
Usually after about 3 days the students are taken off of impact. A bath (in a galvanized tub with boiled water, a bar of soap, shampoo, and a disposable BIC razor) is provided. They are now Levels 2's or "twos," but keep the same binder. Their responsibilities are much greater than on impact. They spend most of their time milking cows, carrying water from a creek (punching through the ice if you're lucky enough to be there after November and before April), washing utensils/dishes, collecting eggs, feeding pigs, and doing push-ups twenty five at a time (if they say anything as horrible as "dude" or "god"). Anywhere on the calendar remotely near winter, they chop firewood. Cords, as they call them, are a necessity for advancement in the Blue Binders. A quota is listed and enforced.
Level 3: The Barn
You get your Green Binder! And a mid-term meeting with your parents, who just might screw you over more if you're not careful. Better slap on a Utahn accent and bury that mouth firmly in between their ass cheeks!
At The Barn, oligarchy rears its ugly head. There is a syllogism to it. Not all students are snitches, but all snitches are students. You have to watch your ass in an entirely new way.
You are allowed to drink flavored beverages now (Kool-Aid, milk, soft drinks as infrequent rewards). You are allowed to see clocks and watch certain movies (The Emperor's New Groove, E.T., The Bridge Over the River Kwai, etc.) during "movie nights" and also you eat more complex food (burritos are a perrenial favorite). However, your mail is still (as always) regulated and newspapers/TV are out of the question.
Your average day will be spent feeding cattle off the back of a truck, feeding goats/chickens/geese/sheep, or even helping an employee move their furniture to a new house. You are free labor and therefor expendable, don't forget that. On Sundays, you're ushered into TAR vehicles and driven to Escalante's Baptist Church for the mandatory services(supposedly not, but on asking not to be included I was threatened with a "level drop").
During this time you will also be included in "groups." During Group you will sit on plastic chairs in a semi-circle and watch people be accused of things, mocked, and subsequently have insults screamed at them. Maybe you'll get to participate in Max Stewart's (the burly Mormon who runs the place) challenge to run from your chair to the corral fence and back again just for the hell of it. If you look at the girls too much he'll accuse you of wanting to make a "TAR baby." To Mormons, sex without reproduction is a foreign concept.
Or in my case, you might get taken for a ride in Stewart's pick-up truck for some personal attention. He told me I was a drug-addict for requesting a continuation for my prescription Eskalith (lithium citrate, for Bipolar Disorder). Thanks for curing my organic brain disorder, Max!
Level 4: The BARN, SOLO, GRADUATION
As a Level 4 you get to serve yourself a plate before anyone else by going behind the counter and scooping slop onto it while helpless Level 3's drool. You also get to sit in on "leadership meetings" in which troublesome students are brought up and solutions are devised. It's a sweet position, but make sure you kiss the right ass or you'll level drop.
During this time you're supposed to complete your Red Binder, which includes assorted equestrian bullshit and anti-drug propaganda from 20 years ago (by the way, these binders are counted as High School credits for some reason).
Eventually, after tormenting your underlings in Levels 1 to 3, you're sent to Solo. Now, Solo isn't as harsh as it used to be. It's still the same one-room, black-painted cabin out in the middle of nowhere that it used to be. The only difference is you don't have to sleep there. Instead you spend your time completing the Solo Binder, which is a reflection on just about everything. You can almost (kinda) get a tan out there, too. This is also the perfect time to smoke any cigarette butts you've found (or sage-brush rolled in notebook paper if you haven't learned to trade well). What, no matches? You should have stole them from the meds booth, you retard, GAWD there's only a fucking basket of them!
But I digress.
This isolation will last perhaps 2 days at the most. Then you'll be welcomed back to The Barn in hushed, secret anticipation of your graduation. Sometimes this is delayed for more than a week, other times it happens within 24 hours. You're then led into a circle outside (or one in The Barn) where your "medicine pouch," some feathers, and some other Indian bullshit are given to you. Then everyone says some stuff and your indulgent, well-fed, affluent parents cry and welcome you back into their (YOUR) family.
You are now free. It took 90 days of no music, no "slang," forced Christianity, having to sing while using the bathroom, hard manual labor, and ingenious mind-games... but you're free. What's in store for you? If follow Turn About's suggestion; a life of piety and no friendship. Better than smoking weed and premarital sex, right??
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 20, 2020 at 3:40 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Reddit (source)
I went to Moonridge Academy and it was traumatizing
A couple years ago, I went to a treatment center because I was depressed and not doing school work. My parents thought being around specialists and supportive staff would give me the coping skills I needed to be a functioning person. It backfired, majorly.
When I first got there, they searched my bag, which is understandable, and made me strip off all my clothes in a bathroom. It was humiliating. They wrote down every bruise, scrape, and scar on my body. It took half an hour.
My first night, I had a panic attack. Instead of giving me space like I requested, an adult insisted on sitting next to me. The proximity to a stranger made me feel unsafe. When I expressed as much, I was told I would hurt myself if I was left alone. As someone who had been clean from self-harm for months, this felt like a slap in the face. I was hyperventilating, sobbing, rocking back and forth, and all I was asking for was a little distance.
Instead of helping me learn the rules when I asked questions, a staff member took my diary when I asked a question during "no-talk", a silent time for students to study. When I apologized and tried to politely explain that I was just trying to understand what was going on, this staff member said she wouldn't give me diary back for two weeks. At the time, journaling and drawing were my only healthy coping skills. When I explained this and asked for the journal ban to be reduced to one week instead of two, she laughed at me.
When a pencil was found in the middle of the room I shared with four other students, all five of us were forced to do school work with crayons. When our homework was illegible, we had to redo it all. It was tedious and humiliating.
Throughout the ten months I was there, I was constantly manipulated and borderline emotionally abused by multiple staff members. It was bad enough that my therapist had me fill out a form on her computer stating one of the incidents, where a staff swore at me for not walking fast enough for her liking. I had to lie my way through the program because when I said I wanted to go to a different treatment center to get the help I needed, I was told I "wasn't progressing" and I was "making adults concerned".
Even years later, I still wake up drenched in sweat, afraid that I will be sent back despite my parents admitting it was the worst mistake they have ever made.
Parents who are considering sending their child to Moonridge Academy, please look at different residential or outpatient centers. That place acts entirely different when parents arrive. It felt like a lie. Please, don't send your child there.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 7, 2020 at 6:25 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Reddit. Praise the author for sharing it.
I went to Turn About Ranch when I was 13 because I was gay. I'm 29 now (and happily married to my beautiful, same-sex partner).
I was a fairly good kid, but I think that Turn About Ranch really messed me up and caused trauma that I'm still unpacking. When I first arrived to the camp, they refused to give me my prescribed epilepsy medication for a whole week, claiming it was a part of their "detox" methods for all kids.
The first week without my medication I was having a really hard time focusing (ie. having staring seizures) and burned my hand in fire. They refused to get me medical care until it was spotted in a later photo. It was a 3rd degree burn on my hand.
I went from around 100+ lbs to 89 lbs in three weeks. Again, they refused medical care until my family saw my state in photos and demanded it.
Things got better after I received medical care, but it took so much advocacy from my family.
While I was at camp, I was repeatedly insulted and called a "lesbo" by staff, as if it was my name. Other kids at the camp did it to, and the staff encouraged it.
As time went on I just learned to be invisible. When my family saw me at the half-way point, they were very afraid because of how silent I was. I wouldn't make eye contact or even engage in small talk. I just wanted to disappear.
At the end of the three months, the camp did not want to release my rights to my family. They said that I "hadn't changed" and obviously they were right. The only thing that changed was that I went from a girl who had confidence and spirit to one who felt immense fear.
The thing I want you to know is that after I left, I never trusted my family again. When I went through something scary, I never opened up to them. When I went through something beautiful and good, I never opened up to them. I went from gay 13 year old to a gay 13 year old with lifelong trauma.
There is no physical safety at Turn About Ranch. There is no psychological safety at Turn About Ranch. Don't send anyone you love there.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 30, 2020 at 6:05 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story.
I was in DRA (Diamond Ranch Academy) from August 2011 to January 2012.
I was taken by two big men on August 4 at around 3 in the morning and transported to Utah. Unfortunately, it is as bad as the internet says. Not a day goes by where I don't relive what happened there. I remember getting a visit from my parents and crying for them to take me, instead they told my therapist and he talked to me and said if I did that again I would get in trouble for "manipulation" aka a cry for help.
I saw this poor 14 year old try to run away and then two 30-something year old men tackled him to the ground and put him in an arm restraint. He then had to run ER (energy release) which was him running until the guys told him to stop, which could be hours. The first two weeks I was there we had o&a (observe and assess) where they made us do stupid little tasks (I was 17 when I arrived and had to write a 17 page paper about my life, make a fire, tie knots, and read various self-help books), we also had to ask to do any little thing (like drink water, reposition ourselves, put on chapstick) we also had designated times to use the bathroom and if you had to go when it wasn't time you got docked points.
The only way I got away was because I was 18 and was able to leave the program. I have been doing a lot better lately. I go to therapy and have been dealing with a lot of emotions regarding DRA. I hate that it still fucks with me and I've been out of the program for 5 years now. I just wanted to put this here so other survivors can know that: yes what we went through fucking sucks, but we can't let our parents stupidity get in the way of our futures. And if any parents are reading this: don't fucking send your child to any therapeutic boarding school, they will harbor resentments against you for a while (trust me). Also Your kid will also probably end up smoking weed to deal with the ptsd of the situation.
More information about Diamond Ranch Academy
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 30, 2020 at 5:40 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story
Watched kids get beat up by staff, watched kids try to kill themselves every day. Verbal abuse from staff member. Medical neglect. Kids rioting against the school. Watched kids slice there wrists open. Watched kids tie bags over there head. Kids would have panic attacks and self harm and the other kids had to help them instead of staff or the kid would be physically removed from the building, usually dragged. Staff broke a few kids arms. Staff gave kids black eyes and bruises. Staff brought drugs into the facility such as meth. Frank and Sherman milked as much money from kids suggesting IEPs. Most teachers did not have teaching degrees and did not help with school work. Food poisoning. Kids hanging themselves from bed posts. Spent an hour a day outside, usually less. Putting 5 girls in a room the size of a motel room. Mold, broken ACs. Overnight staff talked shit on kids. Verbal abuse. Cases of sexual assault. Mattress haven't been replaced in about 8 years. I was gone for about a year and a half and came back and my same blood, shit and piss stained mattress was still there. Carpet had fungus. There was a staff that would stare at the girls in the shower. If you didn't tell the other kids what to do you would be dropped levels and not allowed to go home. Kids tried jumping over the second story rails. Small portions of food but extremely fattening with little to no nutritional value. Water jug would be dumped on girls who did not get out of bed within 3 minutes. Reinvestment Room was covered in other people's fecal matter, blood, hair, snot, and pee and was cleaned by students once a week. Kids in RI received no food until deemed unethical and kids were given a fruit for lunch and breakfast. Staff talked shit on kids.
Most of my problems to this day stem from the traumatic occurrences from Red Rock. I cannot have a normal relationship with my family because of the trust issues I have built from this place. I left Red Rock Canyon with more problems then when I had entered.
More about Red Rock Canyon School in St. George, Utah.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 24, 2020 at 5:35 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story
It was late, at least 3 in the morning. Everyone was still awake and I heard them talking about people arriving soon. With that I looked out my window to see a taxi pulling into the parking lot, leaving its mark in the uniformly white snow.¨I watched it as it slowly crept by each building, only stopping when it found its target. Both passenger doors opened up and two large men stepped out. They surveyed the building for a second, glanced at each other, and started walking towards my building and out of site. My heart started racing as I awaited the now inevitable. I would have to play along with whatever I was dealt with. I could handle it, its just rehab right? I walked out to the living room where my family seemed to realize the two men were on their way up. My mom couldn’t look at me, seemingly on the verge of tears. Then the knock came. A flurry of nervous activity erupted, as nobody seemed to know how to act at the moment.
My grandfather opened the door, and the men asked him where I was. Two very large Jamaican men, representing themselves as private detectives from Miami, came straight over to me. I was put in handcuffs, and they asked my family if they wanted to say their goodbyes. My brother came up to me again and gave me a hug, as did my father. My mother was sobbing at this point, and kept telling me she didn’t know they were going to handcuff me. I reassured her, contrary to all my feelings surrounding the day; a son does not look at his crying mother with any satisfaction, even if he was cursing her just moments before. At least I didn’t think so then.
The goodbyes were said, and the men grabbed me by both arms and escorted me to the waiting taxi. My father, brother and grandfather followed. I was put into the back seat with the larger of the two men. I glanced over as the driver shifted into drive. The image I saw has never left my mind. My grandfather in his trench coat and fedora stood in the middle of my father and brother. They were side by side staring at the cab, the snow gently easing its way down flake by flake. I focused on a single snowflake, drifting from above the streetlamp, meandering down through the orange hue, and finally coming to rest at my grandfather’s feet; no more an individual, just a single color spread as far as I could see.
We arrived at the airport. I had learned, during the trip, that I was being sent to a program located in Jamaica and would probably be there for a couple weeks if I “worked” the program. I was taken aback by the location, but two weeks didn’t seem too bad at all. A trip to Jamaica, I was sure this was going to be interesting. The handcuffs did concern me, though I brushed it off as a precautionary measure. And besides, what a badass I must have looked like getting escorted through airports in handcuffs. I even gave some nasty glances to older ladies staring curiously at the blond hair blue eyed boy sandwiched between two large Jamaican men.
First we flew to Atlanta and then onto Montego Bay, Jamaica. As we got off the plane, Jamaican women lined up in the aisle that led to the lobby, singing native songs and shaking everything they had for the tourists who were at the heart of the country’s economy. I almost felt like I was cheating, not intending to spend a dime there, and yet getting a free show anyway. Oh well, it wasn’t my choice, but my mood was elevated by the women, and the temperature too. It was a hundred degree difference from my city, and in February that made me pretty damn happy.
We were met by a driver from Tranquility Bay, the program I was headed to. We exchanged pleasantries, and in my naivety I thought this could actually be fun. Everything so far indicated that it could be alright. Well everything except the handcuffs. But I knew my mom, and she would never put me in harms way; there was nothing to worry about.
The drive to Tranquility Bay was amazing. We drove through the heart of Jamaica’s jungles and hills. People lined the roads in certain parts, barbequing and smoking what I could have sworn were large spliffs. The driver instilled visions of Grace Kelly’s final minutes as he darted around slow moving trucks while turning a corner or speeding 50 mph on a road no larger than a car and a half. It was exhilarating though; knowing that despite the normalcy of the grass, the familiarity of the sky, and the common traits of the people here compared to people I knew at home, I was actually in the middle of Jamaica’s jungles. A place you heard stoners idolize, a Rastafarian hideaway, the heart of the Caribbean.
A sudden realization of my situation was brought about as we entered the Tranquility Bay compound. There were lines of American boys, all dressed in brown shirts and khaki shorts, nobody moving a muscle and all looking straight ahead. Every single head was shaved down to a stubble. Behind them was a clothes line that had more of the shirts and khakis, hanging lifeless while they gestated to their owner’s desired form. Thick, boisterous Jamaican accents directing the boys into their proper positions echoed in my mind as I surveyed the rest of my new home.
Barbed wire surrounded a two story whitewashed building which comprised the majority of the area. The upper level was used as sleeping quarters, and the bottom as the administrative area with a cafeteria and bathrooms attached. Behind the building I noticed more boys; they were lined up side by side in their swimming trunks while a Jamaican staff member tested the pressure of water pouring out a hose. He then turned to the guys lined up and started spraying them down. Most of them jumped as the cold water jolted their senses awake, and then squirmed as the staff member held the water on each one for a minute as they used their soap to wash off. The only voices I heard, though, were those of the Jamaicans. No verbal protest from the cold shower just administered, no adolescent jabbing as the boys stood around doing nothing but what they were told. This was what I had to look forward to.
It was a numbness that the boys were feeling; something I can only imagine is referred to in military personnel’s infamous “thousand yard stare.” A hopeless state that you become resigned to amidst confusion, pain and practice. And as soon as I realized this, I too was immersed in the anxiety and nervousness that seemed to prelude the absence of it all.
That was the life at Tranquility Bay, as I came to understand it; a complete separation from everything and everyone you ever knew. I could go on to describe the individual activities that we participated in everyday, or the abuse that was rampant throughout the facility, or the food that was so sparse; however a much simpler explanation is what there wasn’t. There were no calls home, no objections, no talking, no hot showers, no sugar, no shoes, no hair; there was nothing except you and your consequences; consequences seen and heard nearly everyday. From trying to fall asleep while listening to a 15 year old kid thrown to the ground off his bunk bed, and then dragged out into the hallway and beat for 30 minutes; to being forced to lay absolutely rigid, face first on the ground for a solid week, under the threat of physical punishment if refused.
For the first few weeks I told myself that as soon as a letter got home, I would be taken out. My mother would never approve of a place that treated kids this way. You can only hold on to hope for so long though. Other guys had been in for two years or more, and they all knew what was happening. The parents, families and authorities were all told that we were “manipulating” them. Every time a kid would get out and talk about what happened, or write home with the nasty accounts of the week, the program would counter with their one and only excuse, that kids are manipulative. And it worked. I only received two letters back, and they were not empathetic to the situation. Nothing I could say or write would ever change the stigma attached to a “troubled youth.” Hope, it seemed, was for another time and place. With little choice, I continued the daily routines, and delved deeper into my own void.
Every single day mimicked the last. Every single back of a shaved head looked the same. Every foot was in step while our lines walked; every mouth was shut. And the daily screams were just as desperate as yesterday’s. Hours turned into days and days into weeks.
I turned 18 in July, and demanded that I be let go. I was threatened with only receiving 20 dollars and a plane ticket to Miami if I did not stay and complete the program. So I made a deal to be transferred to a program in Montana that was alleged to not be as harsh. I was supposed to complete the program while in Montana. Two more months of the same numbness though, convinced me to leave the program no matter where they left me.
I was driven to Thompson Falls, Montana where I was given 50 dollars and a train ticket to Seattle. There I was, standing outside a small train station in the middle of Montana, in the dead of night. I stood there, as if I was still standing in line listening to orders barked down at me, but with a sliver of anticipation growing. Anticipation? It was alien to me at that point. It almost felt as if I was scared. Maybe I was scared. In 7 months I went from just another kid about to graduate high school, to a person who doesn’t even know his own feelings. My family had disappeared, my personality was dormant, and all that was left was the train to a city I didn’t know and the odd feeling of anticipation.
In reality, I learned a great deal from my experiences. People, places, and languages, that I had never known, demanded my attention. An understanding of how to internalize and introspect was gained. And I’ve heard that whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you tougher. I didn’t turn out the way the program or my family envisioned I would. It was hard going to a city I had never been to before, and trying to figure out how to get started again. I got into some trouble here and there, but I kept the lessons I learned with me. Life wasn’t as hard anymore; situations could be put into perspective. I had learned about life’s bottom, or near to it, and I looked forward to the rise up.
More information about Tranquility Bay
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 22, 2020 at 4:50 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Google
Honestly, staff are very abusive here. I was here for a year and a half a couple years ago. Staff were having sexual relationship's with girls, Mr.Vince is a very evil man, he abuses his authority. The food here is amazing and a select few staff are there to really help. Don't send your kids here it will only damage your daughters more. Also the staff lie to parents and social workers and probation officers. If you're a social worker and you want to make or need to make a welfare visit my advice do not let any staff know or they'll make everyone be on there best behavior.
The State Of California made all the youth from California that were placed there come home because of the condition Mingus is. They are abusive and the education is terrible. There are restraints constantly so we cannot talk during an issue meaning we cannot be taught in school. We watched movies 24/7 in class.
The therapist some of them are amazing and the therapy groups helped me so much.
The facility was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic May 2020. 84 students and 20 employees were infected by this possible lethal illness - Source
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 17, 2020 at 5:10 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story.
"Im awake" I say it again, but the Jamacain still slaps the corner of my bed with his hand. "get up up boy....im not going to tell you again" I murmer something under my breathe, He shoots me one last look then walks off to another room to hand out more cat 1s for not getting up in time. I look up and my 5 roomates have already begun thier morning assignments. They walk around the small room like zombies, barely awake, but somehow managing to look like thier busy for the ever attentative staff. Im not a working student so I have no responsibilities. (Nothings expected of me) I jump down from my wooden board and 4 inch futon like mattress. And I take my uniform off my shelf and unfold it and wait in line for the bathroom. The 2 infront of me yawn and strech thier muscles prepairing for the day ahaed. Its almsost my turn now, the 14 year old in the bathroom now is taking his time, as usual. I bang on the door and say "caleb, hurry the (ahem...) up" He opens the door, half dressed, and wadles out, I walk in, and step in urin on the floor. No big deal. I reach for the faucet and turn the knob, ....hmmm....no water, nothings changed since yesterday.
I change and grab my water bottle and my book. This week im reading 10,000 laegues under the sea. Although you wouldnt know it trying to read whats left of the cover (you learn quickly in TB that reading is the only escape from this miserable mind numbing repetative lifestyle we live in that 3rd world toilet.) I walk past my level 3 roomate whos busy sweeping the floor. I barely notice him, and I walk right through his pile of dust, dirt, and toe nail clippings, it doenst matter though, he see's me and doenst even give it a second look. The Hallways are busy as usual. The kids in O.P. are sleeping in the hall way, students are busy collecting brooms and mops for thier half ass future cleaning efforts, the night staff are still sitting in thier seats half way asleep infront of every room that contains "students". The day staff shift is up and already handing out categories to kids for meaningless rules such as faul language, horse playing, looking out the windows ,being slow, for not doing morning chores fast enough or good enough, etc etc etc. I walk to the door way of my room and asked the staff infront of the door permission to leave my room, the staff asks me if i finished my morning chores, and I tell him I have none, he tells me "get one" and walks away. I step out anyways and slowly walk over to an area my family has somewhat claimed in the hallways. recently Unity has been trying to "slowly push us out of our morning hallway spot", so today we agreed those who wouldnt do chores would go claim the spot for excellence before unity tries to pull that shit again.
I take 10 steps out of my room, hang a left through the staff infested hallways and Im already there. My friend Chris was already sitting down, He looked up to see who it was, He saw me and gave me a smerk, I kinda smiled back and backed myself up to a wall near him and slid down till i was sitting on the floor. I took a Sip of my warm water and opened my book. He asked me how did I like the book (he recommended it to me) I started talking about it with him as the excellence family crowded around us in "our area" and before I knew it we were already lining up. we Line up in the poorly lit hallway silently and I noticed Everyone has there baskets with them (its wednsday, washing day,..........damn) I run out of line and and into my room, (5 feet away from the line) I grab my basket full of dirty clothes and take a quick look to make sure im not forgeting anything. I walk out and my family fathers already waiting for me on the outside of the door with arms crossed. "I forgot my basket" I say in my defense. He hands me a cat sheet and tells me to fill out 3 cat 1's. (he did that just so I would have work sheets and miss P.E.) I snatched the Ridiculous pieces of paper out of his hand and walked back into line. I dont care, Im turning 18,......... soon TB will be nothhing more then a vague memory, and as I would soon find out, a constant platform for future nightmares. the staff did his head count and then waited for us all to stop swaying and stop mumbling in line before we could go anywhere. We walked downstairs and out the front door of the dorms. It was Hot, very hot. (the inside had no ac but atleast it was shaded.) We walked past the cafeteria in the blinding sun and after 2 min of stopping every 25 feet and doing head counts we reached the " shower area" every one sped walked (running is a category) to the back of the shower area to grab 2 buckets each. 1 for washing and scrubbing, the other for rinsing. Some kids have thier friends grab a bucket while the other holds an outdoor faucet for them (4 faucets 23 kids) So there is ALWAYS some sort of pushing and shoving over faucets, being next in line, and wether or not its okay to have someone save a faucet for someone else......you know...the important things in life.
After you fill your bucket up to the top you fill your second bucket half way, (but dont dare fill your rinsing bucket up to much, for wasting water in jamaica is like breaking one of the commandments.)
After waiting 10 min in line for some water everyone then sat in a circle in the middle of the hot ass sun and scrub our clothes with our bare hands as if it was 1850. Everyone silent .....quiet, taking in the incredible heat, fighting the bugs, and scrubbing (and of course i guess a (ahem...)in brush would be to much to ask for) After washing, you hang your clothes on the wires running across the area. Then you empty out your bucket full of filthy water, and you refill that bucket, take it in the outdoor shower stalls, empty out your water bottle, and proceed to wash yourself with a bucket of water at your feet (standing on a crate to keep you elevated from all the mold and grime building up on the never Ever cleaned shower stalls) and you dump water on your head with a bottle one cup at a time. If you take more then 10 min you get a category.
Today Shane got out of O.P. (shane is 14 years old. Hes very small and picks fights with everyone, And has lost every fights hes gotten into. After 1 years he is still in a program, He is constantly pushing the staffs temper and almost always get restrained for the staff have no fear of him and since hes always in trouble, staff have the right to restrain him for anything . Everyone picks on shane, hes very annoying and watching him get restrained is actually rather entertaining considering the place your in and having him leave the family is a relief, so even the upper levels purposlly push him over the edge. (yes upper levels) (a lot of good this place does huh))
Anyways, as i showered, someone decided to throw shanes shorts in one of the shower stalls. He saw his shorts and freaked out, he began screaming and walked over to every one asking them who did it. Some other kid trying to be difficult (even though he didnt do it) he started messing with him, saying things like "i know who did it" and "Im not telling you" Basically pushing him over the edge. Shane flipped, began throwing lefts and rights, pretty soon both male staff grabbed him and trying to impress the students around them, picked the undersized kid up and carried him out of the shower area and into O.P. for immediate restraining. (some staff love to show off infront of the kids, it happens more then any of you would believe) The Family clapped and laughed as the small kid was carried away crying, kicking, and screaming.
We then Lined up in the heat and waited for the staff to take his head count, we then walked back in single line (as always) to the families rooms and put our empty baskets and shower suplies back on the 2-3 shelves we were given when we first arrived. (you only need 2 or 3 shelves, you own so few possecions) after getting 45 sec to put our stuff away, were already linging up in the hallways silently waiting for the head count. My friend infront of me looked behind me and saw me reading in line. He kinda elbowed me to warn me that im gunna get in trouble. I whipser "i dont care" the staff walks over and asks him why are we talking. After 20 seconds of explaining that he was telling me to stop reading the staff decides to give him a category and me 2 categories. (I really dont care, but my friend is trying to reach level 3 so he can hear his little brothers again.) after waiting for the staff to stop flirting with the female staff we start our descend to the bottom floor to the class rooms.......I whisper an apology to chris, he turns around, gives me a smerk, then keeps walking. Its hard to smile here.
Outside of the rooms the girls are linging up from P.E. I turn my head out of line and stare at one of the pretty girls as if I were at a buffet table. Staff see's me and yells " You boy, fill out a romantic encouragement" I laugh it off and pretend like I really care what this underpaid over worked little black man has to say to me. (thats about 3 hours in work sheets, You'd think I would have learned by now......lol......(its still early, its only my 3rd week.)
After walking 100 yards we reach the school. Thank god. A/C! after the staff makes us stand outside till he can hear a pin drop, we we walk in, and you can actually hear each student sigh as the cold air covers thier sweaty skin. We all take our strategic assigned seats which are meant to keep the talkers away from one another and the silent type inbetween the talkers and fighters. This is our 1st trip of 5 trips to school today (just like every other (ahem...)in day) its still early, so the "teacher" hasnt arrived yet. we spend 1 hour in class, everyone who had to take a shit since early this morning or late last night now has an opportunity to use the bathroom without having to plunge it after finishing. (the classrooms have running water, unlike the dorms, shit holes, bedrooms, whatever you want to call them) For the next hour we are suppost to sit quitely and prepare for the teacher. which is ridiculous, for they might as well call it......."put your head down time" (i dont think an explanation is needed there) Its only 9, but im already starving, its been 16 hours since I last ate, and yesterdays dinner (as usual, jus didnt quiet cut it) I sat in class for an hour, stomach rumbling, begging me for food. I also put my head down, (I guess subconsiouslly trying to conserve energy or whatever little food is in my stomach.) (yesterday was sunday, we only got 2 meals!!!)
Its finally 10, we slowly walk towards the cafeteria, stopping frequentlly for he head counts. After what seemed like forever, we finally reach the cafeteria. The staff then keeps us outside till hes good and ready to let us in. The line leader stares at the staff waiting for him to command us to enter for our scheduled morning meal. we walk in (in line of course) and grab the meal that is already lined up for us. The new kid takes the plate that wanst next in line and the staff gives him a cat 3. His buddy pleads with the staff to drop the "charge" he does, and I giggle, (its tough getting used to these rules) we place our meals on the table and stand behind our chairs, we wait for the supervisor to finish her convo outside, when she walks in, she walks around, catches a few people not groomed properly (un'bottoned button or shirt sticking out. etc) after 45 sec of walking around she says "sit" and we all sit down and dig in. This lovely morning we are having a small handful of cooked cabage, even less ground up very uncooked meat, and 3 pieces of white bread.
I dont care, if u placed cooked cat infornt of me i would have finished it all by myself. (probably would have tasted better too...) Compared to the fish or the soup, or some of the other meats, the guwy cabage is actually a treat. Its been 4 min since we walked in, and the kitchen cook/chef/janitor/staff/gardner places the tape in the radio and as we eat silently we listen to the same exact tape we heard yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and the day before that. (welcome to beautiful Tranquility Bay!)
I finish my meal and Im alreday looking at others plates who either cant eat the ground up meat or wont touch it, and then try and trade my nasty ass powdered milk for there food. (its against the rules to trade or give food, they would rather you throw out food before you give it to another hungry child) (thats the mentallity in TB)
Micah still wont eat, hes lost 50 lbs since he first got here, but hes also got a few std's from one of his mothers pimps, so they blame his wait loss on his desease. Micah starts picking up plates and brings me his and I quickly devour what he wouldnt or what he says "physically cant eat" Staff dont care, eaiting disorders is beyond thier basic knowledge of handing out categories and holdding thier crotch when they talk. (okay not all of them, but most......)
After BF we go to the dorms (single file line, I know I keeps saying it, but its all the time, they treat us like ignorant sheep in that place......the scary part is, u get used to it,........all of it)
We walk to the dorms and take off our sandals outside of the room in the hallway. We walk in and the staff hands the upper level some random book that hes suppost to choose words out of for fellow students to spell. But is actually more like an opportunity for the student tester to find words that insult or offend the perticular student and then have them spell it. Staff know it, they do....they dont care.......
So after 30 min of “Jonathan, spell fagot"......."Im not gunna spell that"....."Spell it or I tell father"....."F-a-g-o-t"......"thats right Johnathan, your a f-a-g-o-t"
We line up...(again) and wait (again) we walk downstairs and go back to school. The teachers thier now, so no more relaxing. Now youve actually got to put some effort into looking busy. The so called teacher doesnt teach, she hands out precopied test, then checks them with test answers she got form the states (I know she couldnt properly check 1 test without it) I dont do school work, Ive flat out refused (but I'll leave my own reasons and explanations for later) (in a few simple words though......I will not allow them to manipulate me or much none the less change me as a person, I like who I am.......and thats that.)
After half an hour of sitting quietly and writing letters to people who will never get them, nature calls. So I raise my hand and wait till the staff is "good and ready" I apporach the desk that all the staff sit around and eat shit at. (eat shit as in do nothing) I say " can I have toilet paper for the bathroom" the staff trying to be funny for his buddies says "what for?" and smiles.I wanted to say something back or do something, But in TB physical force accomplishes nothing. so I just walk away. Which really offended him. Which will and does come back to haunt me, but its hard to take shit from people who are purposlly trying to be disrespectful.
I then raise my hand and ask another staff, and he sends me back to the other staff, (just my luck) I come back to the same staff and ask the same question. He looks at me, unrolls the TP they keep locked up like a fire arm, as he hands it to me he tells me "no jacking off in the bathroom" but he says it loud enough for half the class to hear. what ever....you get used to it......(sadly)
Class is over and in single file line we go back to the shower area to collect our clothes and fold them up. after 15 min of folding in the heat chris comes up to me and tells me that travis stole my sun block. (im not pist though, Im not mad at him, even though hes a thief, Im not mad at the staff who disrespects me, im mad at this place, I hate this place, I hate what it does to people, I hate how it makes you feel about life, I hate how they manipulate you, I hate what they get away with, and even worse, I hate the fact that im scheduled to be here till im 1 (deep down I dont know how much longer I can take being held opressed, poorly treated, poorly fed, etc etc. Not even the kid who stole my sun block deserves this)
Now about my freaking sun block. I find travis puttin his clothes away on his shelf, and ask him for my sun block, He tells me he doesnt know what Im talking about. (i cant believe this kids lying to my face) I quickly reach in his basket, pull out my sun block and hold it infront of his face. He actually laughs, then asks me not to tell.......I didnt answer, I walk away.....I get inline and close my eyes. I picture my friends and what there probably doing right now, I think of my father and my pets, I think of the beatiful miami beaches, I think of the park near my house and the kids playing on the swings, I think of the times Ive hung out with my friends laughing and playing around..."Stop your day dreaming boy!....hurry up..."
I catch up with the line, thier walking towards P.E. the same disrespectful staff walks up to me and tells me I have worksheets to serve. I walk into the room with 5 other kids from my family who have all been caught for some ridiculous rule they broke. We sit in the hot room, wondows closed, doors closed. (they d that on purpose) The jamaican heat has no where to go. The staff tells us the rules of the of the TB handbook "no laughing, no tlkaing, no standing, no picking at your fingers, no calling out answers, feet together at all times, no looking around the room." He continues speaking, he puts the tape in. Each tape is 15 min long there are 30 questions hidden in each tape. Most of the kids in thier are work sheet regulars. Some of the kids even quietly say the tape word for word to themselves.... To my left is this kid with a feminen name (constantly gets made fun of) he sat there, didnt do one tape the entire time, but instead slowly pulled hairs out of his legs. 1 by 1 he found a hair on his leg and pulled it out. (i never understood why he was doing it, but when he saw me looking at him, he stopped)
After 3 tapes I was done, and I was sent back to my family which were at P.E. I was escorted to my family, I ran over to chris who was playing football on the concrete with a few others. I joined in, probably the highlight of my day, maybe my week.......all of my days in TB are jus one big miserable blur anyways.
After P.E. we lined up and were taken by the family fathers to the shower area, were we showered and got dressed. We went through the routine without flaw, 6 take a shower, when they finish 6 more, when they finish 6 more until we were all done. We lined up in the blazing sun, waited for staff and were soon on our way to Lunch. We left our water bottles outside and stepped into the dry smelly cafeteria. The tape was already playing, we walked in, single file, grabbed our lunch and waited for the supervisor, she looked around, bitched about a few things, and then gave the okay. We sat down quietly, (made sure we lifted our chairs as we pulled them out from beneath the tables.) Today we are having 2 peieces of white bread and ground up meat that if spread around, barely covered one full side of the bread, and 4 crackers. It didnt matter though, The meats disgusting, and in my opnion, uneatable, so I traded it last week for a dinner role to a level 3. I nibbled my crackers 1 by 1 trying not to let 1 of my taste buds go uncovered. And just as quickly as lunch came, it was over, and just as hungry as I was this morning,.....is just as hungry as I am now.
We walked upstairs, (single file....im telling you......the lines never end in TB) We stand infront of the dorm room we spend most of our "waiting time and family rep time" in. We wait for staffs approval, then we take off our sandlas (no shoes...easier to run away with in) we then walk into the room and sit down and wait for the family representative. (Now I dont exactly rmember what happened this day with the family rep. So let me Throw some information out about this whole family representative thing instead)
For those who dont know, Each family has 1 family Rep, you spend 1 hour a day with your family rep as a group. You sit inside your room, when she walks in, everyone stands up together and says "Good afternnon mrs blah blah blah" the family rep then sits down, opens her notebook and begins her "thrashing" You see, your family rep is your only commmunication between you and your family, your family rep speaks with the students mother and father once a week and updates them on your situation. Your family rep has ultimate power over you and your situation at TB. If your Family Rep doenst like you, you will spend much much more time in TB then you should have if she liked you. She decides when its time for you to go home, she decides if you go to pc1, pc2, or pc3. She decides if you move up a level, she decides. Your life is in the hands of this woman, and you are wrong if you dont think tyranny is not a problem with them. They are cocky, and rather ruthless, they call you out, and make you spill embarresing information, or its time in O.P. on your face. About 4 people every day get to speak with her in group, she makes you stand up, and then asks you extremely personal questions infront of everyone else. and then, after all that, she has these kids get up and tell you what they think about your situation and tell you what they think you should do. But its not like that, these "responses" from other students are mean vicous attacks on one another, where helpful info isnt given, but chances to throw your mistakes in your face and then give in a few cheap shots were insults are thrown at you and you cannot respond. And the worst thing about all of this, is that the family rep is okay with this, okay with this horrible things these kids say about your family and the person you are, and no...this is not constructive criticism, it is destructive and very hurtful when you bear your sole and deepest secrets to your friends and enemies then have it thrown back in your face. In other programs your family therapist gives you her opnions on your actions and then reports them back to your parents, But, it is controlled and mediated by a proffesional therapist. Not in TB, these woman (there are no male family reps as far as I know) are not qualified to be a family therapist much none the less take on the responsibility of both therapist and family Rep. They have not earned the right to control the lives of 30 kids.
When the embaressment is over you make your way with your family back to school. On our way to school, the girls were on thier way to the library, and since the boys cant SEE the girls they made us walk around the back of the facility. The next 2 hours were spent in class, nothing really unexcpected happened. Which really sucked, for at TB you live for the unexpected, everything is the exact same, everything, nothing changes, the poeple, the food, the treatment, the hunger, the staff stealing shoes and clothes, the little medical attention, the water shortage, the electrical outages, the disrespect, the constant misery that seems to shroud this place, everything is planned out and the exact same thing happens ever single day, which is why little things like kids getting restrained are highlights of peoples weeks. After The last School trip with a teacher in the class room (which means nothing more then the chance to take test, thats all teachers do, they dont tutor, parents must pay for that seperately) We make our way to the dorms. its about 5 pm now and were suppost to be in the dorms doing somehting called "kareoke" but we have no radio, no koreoke machine, and were not allowed to sing....so its just something they put in the schedule to make TB seem like its something that its not.
Anyways, this hour before lunch is spent doing 1 of 2 things, (depending on how lenient the staff is) either sitting quietly reading or holding a "family group" which consist of a person at a time telling "war stories" about there past, such as the different drugs they've tried, the different girls they've been with, the unlawful things thy've done etc. etc. In other facilities this is deeply frowned upon, and can even get you sent to O.P. but not in T.B. alote of staff dont care what your doing unless thiers another strict staff around or a supervisor on shift near by. So basically you walk into TB knowing how to smoke weed, and leave with a wide knowledge of heroin, shrooms, coke, and even peyote. (maybe once a week do you get a chance as a group to talk shit about your past)
When dinner time comes around we line up, and are escorted to the cafeteria and fed whatever small amount of food is on the list. If its meat, its full of fat bones and is never enough. If its bread, its hard and old. If its fish, its just outright nasty. And no matter what it is....it is always cold.
Today we had cold soup, which is basically a mix of the past 2 dinners. I never eat the soup, My stomach couldnt handle it. I always gagged after eating it....so I kinda learned my listen the second time.
Twice a month you get to see your therapist. I was escorted to my therpist who sits in a nice office, with a/c a tv and all of these american food and condaments that are like gold in TB trading. He sat me down and started to ask me about my family, I told him I was waiting till i was 18 and that I wasnt going to work no matter what. He somewhat agreed with me, (he certainly didnt argue with me) and asked me if i could help him with some of his paper work, I spent the next 30 min matching up names with groups and times, (basically scheduling his next 30 appointments) (It turns out my mother paid 75 dollars for those meetings.)
You gatta love this place.........
The next few hours are spent in school writing home, its a rather depressing couple of hours. (then again what isnt depressing at TB) everyones real quiet, there all huddled over thier desk writing home, some crying, others mad, some wont write home, some just dont care. Everyones caught up in thier own situation, Everyones....trying to go home.
Its now 9 pm, everyones tired from the day, the day staff leave, and the night staff get settled in thier respective chairs infront of everyones room. Some kids are getting ready for tomorrow, others dont wanna even wake up from thier sleep tonight, The kids in O.P. are getting restrained. shanes in O.P. so no one will get any sleep tonight, hes gunna be restrained until his little body cant take any more bruises. Todays over, and tommorows a new day, but tomrow you dont go home, tomorrow you dont drive your car to work, you dont go to the store or handle currency, you dont get to say goodnight to your family or friends. Tomorrows just 10 hours away, and in 10 hours, you do the exact same thing over again. Tommorow exactly the same, nothing changes, You stand in line al day, you take shit from your peers, you get disrespected by staff, you starve all day and go to sleep hungry, and then it starts all over again and the same thing after that, and the same thing the next day.
If your reading this, Youve just spent 1 hour in the life of a Tranquility Bay prisoner, 60 minutes........now imagine a whole day of this bullshit, now picture a week of this slow misery, now imagine a month of this or a even year! or for many kids, a few years........ everyone makes mistakes, but, no one deserves this treatment.
Everybody needs help at one time or another........this....... isnt help.........
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