Friday, July 6, 2012

Matthew Crosson at Provo Canyon Academy

This testimony was given by Matthew Crosson on the message board belonging to HEAL-online. All rights goes to the Author

Wow after 20 years of pushing that time of my life in the back on my head it all comes back by my 6 year old asking me where i went to school.

I spent alot of time in facilities during my teens. Drug rehabs,boys ranches,places that seem to have taken the place of my parents being forced to deal with me. Out of all the places Provo Canyon was by far the worst.

I had my share of problems just like any other teen growing up in a poor household. But i was shipped away to Utah mainly for drug problems. My father would make my brothers and i roll his joints for him at our kitchen table and then we would steal his drugs from him. I couldn't understand how that could be a reason to ship me off when it was being promoted at my kitchen table. But that was my parents excuse for it all. I think it was a convient way to push me in back of their minds and let blue cross blue shield feed and house me.

I remember how i got there,it was recommended from a shrink i seen at a drug rehab that i escaped from. He told my parents that it was a private school that was better suited for my needs. They brought me to the airport gave me a 5 dollar bill and told me good luck. As soon as i got off the plane 2 huge escorts greeted me and brought me to their car. They made me get in usual pat down position and searched me right the and there. Took my cigs and my headphone and i never did see my misfits cassette again after that.

After a drive we reached my new home. Didn't look bad from outside with all the mountains and snow.Being from Houston tx i never seen snow so it was beautiful.Then boom i was inside with locks clicking behind me. I was taken to the nurse and they checked me for lice and the normal get naked and spread your legs and squat routine. After them taken my suitcase from me so they can go thru my things to make sure i had no contraband i was left with a few pairs of clothes. I wasn't allowed the photos of my girlfriend.

I was taken to my bunk later that eve. I remember the first thing i seen when i walked in was a huge somoian sitting behind a desk in the front of the room. It was a huge room with a lot of bunk beds they said was called level 1. The next day everyone got to go outside to hang out in this big field. They took me to meet my counselor Roy Burger was his name. I was escorted by this huge BYU football player named bud, who later on down the road i became one of his anger management releases. Roy told me i wasn't allowed outside until i reached a few level because i was considered a high escape risk due to me leaving the last treatment center. After him setting out a treatment plan for me all i could do was think im not going to get to go caving or outside at all for that matter. I was fucked! I remember asking to use a phone to call my parents and they refused me. Said i have to reach levels to do that.

I met this guy named Jordan Hall who ended up being the only bit of relief i could find in that place. Everything was going as decent as it possible could till a few days down the road i pissed them off because my bed wasn't made right. I don't remember if i got a warning or what but i do remember thats when i stood out and standing out in there isn't something you wanted. After that it just seemed like everything i did was incorrect to them. Thats when i became familiar with the word IPs.

The first time wasn't anything i just had to stand in a room with 15 or so others in one spot. One Ip then was equal to one hour if i remember right. After i served my Ips i was sent back to level one quarters. Being the smart ass teenager i was i knew i would be back there before to long. Especially since every time i opened my mouth or looked in the wrong direction i was back standing in the IP room. We was allowed to sit but you would only get half a Ips if you did. Before to long i racked up a hundred or so Ips and they completely removed me from level 1 quarters to Investment.

Wasn't a big deal to me since Jordan was sent there with me. But things started going really bad withing a hour or so after being there. There was a kid named Smalley there. He was just in so much trouble that he no longer gave a shit what they through at him. We was serving Ips and decided we would talk when the guard left. We got caught and i watched smalley talk shit to the guard for him saying our Ips didnt count. The guard grabbed Smalley by his throat and lifted him up off his feet against the wall. Then threw him down on the ground and they drug him away. I didnt see him for a few days after that but we was giving more Ips because we was told we was a disturbance.

Jordan and i talked and we decided we no longer wanted to be there and we needed to find a way out. But there was nothing we could do. We talked about jumping a guard and taking his keys that he wore on a belt loop and hitting the mountains. We was kids what can i say we just wanted out. But we didnt do anything. A few days later Smalley came back all fucked up. Crying saying they hit him and threw him in a cell. I didnt know they had cells. But jordan and i got lucky we was giving the chance to burn Ips by cleaning. Its was now our job to clean the seclusion cells and vacuum and whatnot. By that time we had managed more Ips than we could ever burn off. Just for dumb shit like talking.

I remember i asked for a bible and they handed me the book of mormon and jesus christ of latter day saints. I never even heard of a mormon until i made a joke and said moron and that got me my first ass kicking. It wasnt that bad just a few good punches from a guy named bud. A BYU football player huge guy. I was only 5'2 maybe 115 and i had this 300 pound gorilla beating the hell out of me. I kept my mouth shut after that for a few days and said fuck this i need to get outta investment. I never did seems like every breath i took would draw more IPs.

Smalley was always in trouble and locked away in seclusion i would get to see him whenever i would get to clean the vomit out of his cell.He had a unique talent of making himself vomit to get out of his cell for those few minutes. And jordan and i was the lucky one who got to clean it. Was better than standing IPs. See anything you could do to get a moment out of investment and the Ip room you would do just for the lil bit of time you would get to move around a lil bit. Jordan and i was cleaning his cell laughing cause we see undigested food in smalleys vomit. That was not very funny to our friends the guards apparently cause i ended up in seclusion later that eve. I remember the smell of stale vomit and the drain in the center of the floor. I needed to get out but since i wasnt allowed to make calls i had no way.

I wrote my parents a few times explaining to them that kids was getting hit and locked away in there,but i never got anything back.After my time in seclusion i was let back in investment. And i tried to just do my shit serve my Ips and get out of there but i was marked. The label as a fuck up was already on my forehead. I watched other kids get hit and held down with knees on their backs by these huge guards for just no reason what so ever. or at least none that deserves to be physically handled. I was placed on meds, i still have no idea what they are but they didnt really help me all they did was just make me tired. Being tired and standing Ips for hours wasnt a good mix. My brother Jordan came up to me later that eve and said he was being sent home and this was his last night. He was all i had to get thru this place and now my my friend was gone. They took him early in the morn before i was awake.

Being alone now i was really just wanting to get the fuck outta there and i made mistake of telling someone i was going to leave thinkig i was big shit because i escaped from the last place i could do it this time to.A ll i had to do was get to a phone. Bud was walking thru the hallway and i touched his keyring as he passed by me. I was vacuuming the hallways and he grabbed me by the hair and drug my face on the carpet for at least 10 to 15 feet. Then while on my chest screaming i had knees in my back holding me down. My face was on fire. I wasnt given any meds just placed in seclusion. I remember feeling my face pulling the skin tight as the rug burns started to become scabs. Roy burger got me the next day and i told him what happened and he said they was trying to keep me from escaping and that i was fighting while on ground. That was how my half my face got rugburned. How does a kid who weighs 115 at most fight a bunch of college linebackers. I mean enough for me to not be restrained enough to avoid that. Go figure so it was my fault apparently.

The rest of my time there was pretty much the same. I remember i was having kidney pains from a old injury to them i had when i was younger and i was urinating blood. It took them days of me begging to go to see a doctor before they finally took me to the hospital. But before then they tried give me a laxative to see if that would help. I had to insert a huge laxative in my ass in front of 3 or 4 people. Embarrassing but i finally made it to the doc and they also found out i had scoliosis. So hurray something came outta it. I was placed back in seclusion after that, i guess because they had to take the time to bring me to a hospital.I wasnt allowed in school anymore dint get to go swimming and sure as fuck didnt go caving. A year later i got called in roys office and was told my insurance stopped paying and i was going home.I was so fucking happy. I was processed out and on a plane home.

When i got home i told my parents what happened but they didnt believe me they was upset because i was home. But my insurance running out saved my life. Ty blue cross blue shield. i ran away from home and continued to smoke weed then one day i just grew out of it. I grew up on my own. I am now a father of 3 and i thank god that im a better parent. I look at my kids and think how can someone ship their kid off without investigating where they are going.Im not talking look at a pamphlet or have some shrink tell you its for the kids best. How can someone ship their child off cross country without even seeing where they are going first hand.I dunno but there was alot of us in that situation. We didnt have the internet then to gain access to information like we do now. I know i wasnt a good student there and that i probably deserved to be punished. But no one has the right to physically take matters into their own hands teh way these people who was being trusted to take care of us has. I have looked around the forum and i see many have gone thru the same and even worse. And i cant help but think we are survivors.

As a father a human and a survivor i will do all i can to bring PCS down in hope that no more go thru what we have.We survived for a reason lets make sure we end it to.Oh yea jordan i miss ya man. Im sorry this was so long but this is the first time i have sat down to even talk about this to anyone. I can now even 20 years later feel my blood pressure rise and the anger just coming up from just thinking about this. Thank you angela for extending yourself. I hope and pray this stops!Ty


1 comment:

  1. I did a search to see if other people Had such horrendous experiences that I did. Thank you for your post.

    I still struggle with the horror that goes on there 20 + years later as well. I'm glad someone has the power to speak out against the treatment there. I was in PCS around 92-93. Level one sucked, but it wasn't until I got to level two and a crew assaulted a guard and ran from the unit out the alarmed door and down the stairs (Jeffried and Sharon are that names I recall). I was postponed from moving to level 4 for falsely accused theft (the only IPs I ever served). In level 4 I was harassed by the guards because I could not sleep facing the wall (left side), they thought I was trying to escape by sleeping outwards.

    My "trip" to Utah was in Feb. 93 at 2:37 AM when three burly men burst into my bedroom with my mother telling me "you are going to Utah", they shoved me in the back seat of a car and went to the airport (I think it was IAH or perhaps HOU) with the neighbors following in a chase car to make sure I didn't attempt to escape. Put me on a learjet and the next thing I found was hell after landing in SLC and a couple hour drive.

    I'm also from Houston, and still live in the area.