Sunday, December 25, 2016

A stay at the Redcliff Ascent wilderness program and Sunrise RTC

This testimony was made by a person known as snorlaxgottaeat. All rights goes to the original auhtor.

I just discovered this subreddit and wanted to talk a little about my experience with these programs. First of all, I do want to acknowledge that at age 16, I did need some sort of mental treatment, as I was likely suffering from depression and acute anxiety (to be diagnosed later as an adult). But, as many of you already know, these programs can worsen conditions and I feel like this is what happened to me. I don't feel as if the "treatment" I received was beneficial in any way, and that it even exacerbated some of my issues.

My parents had hired "escorts" to come into my room around 5 in the morning and take me to RedCliff. This was in April of 2011, and I was a sophomore in high school. I was sleeping naked (I mean, I didn't think anybody would be coming in), so that was embarrassing to say the least. The escorts were a man and a woman, and the woman told me to get up, get dressed, and come with them or else they would have to handcuff me and take me with force. My mom, anticipating that I wouldn't know what was going on, came into the room and told me that she and my dad were doing this "because we love you". I didn't fight back because 1. I was depressed and apathetic as hell and 2. there was nothing I could do and I knew that. As a side note, I used to hold onto a lot of hatred towards my parents for sending me away to these programs. Now that I'm older though, I only blame myself for how I was acting/how I was hurting my family. While there were certainly other ways that I could have gotten the help I needed, I understand that my parents were truly doing what they thought was best for me and that just because they were misinformed doesn't mean it was their fault. I love them and we have an alright relationship nowadays.

I was at RedCliff Ascent for 83 days. When I first got to their main office, a woman did my intake. I think she realized how difficult these situations could be, and she was comforting and calm with me while still remaining professional. Part of the intake process required me to strip down completely naked, and do a series of squats and other positions in front of her to make sure I didn't have anything in my rectum (shocker, I didn't). This was a weird experience for me, but it was far from traumatic/scarring. Honestly, there were many parts of this program that I actually enjoyed. The hiking was painful and long, but it was somewhat therapeutic to be out in nature and away from my problems at home. As a long-term solution, however, this program would do nothing. There was little to no therapy (once a week, for less than 45 minutes each time) from an incompetent therapist. There were a couple therapists (so maybe this wasn't the case for everybody), but mine didn't even seem to know which way was up or down. I didn't ever feel like I got anything from our sessions. I received more help just talking about random things with the staff members who watched over us and led us on hikes. Some of the staff were great, and genuinely cared for us. Others seemed to like it when we were angry, sad, or generally struggling. I don't think it was malicious, but that they thought we were "building character" in these instances. I can think of several examples of a particular staff member who would laugh at the girls I was with when they were angry/upset/emotional. The environment was harsh at times, too. We didn't get tents - we got cords and tarps that we could tie up into makeshift tent structures. I was thankfully only there for a couple snowstorms, but the nights would get so cold you would wake up with frost on your sleeping bag. I partially lost feeling in the toes of my right foot from one day where the rain turned to snow and the water in my shoe froze as well. However, this was the extent of the physical hardships and overall RedCliff was not a terrible experience. What did bother me though was once I left, I found out that the program length was changed from about 3 months to a single month. So, I was there almost 3 times as long as some of the girls I was with near the end of my stay.

Sunrise Academy is a different story. I was taken there directly upon graduating RedCliff, and stayed there for 6 months. This was an extremely short time, as most girls are there for a year (or more). Part of it was because I had already attended RedCliff and another part was that I was very careful in what I did and said to staff, my therapist, and the other girls. I feel like my entire time there was a charade. I was among girls who were heavily medicated and had serious mental disorders. I was not like that. I had some depression and anxiety, and took no medication. At certain points, I was the only girl out of 40~ish others that wasn't taking any kind of medication. There were girls who had to be restrained and forcibly thrown into solitary confinement. They called it the "pink room" because they would lock you in a room for a minimum of 3 days and you were only allowed to write with pink crayons (at least, this is what I heard from one of the girls who had to be put in solitary a couple times). If you got into trouble (like one time where a girl got caught lying on another girls bed with her - a capital offense in Sunrise) they would put you on therapeutic probation, where you couldn't talk to anything or participate in any activity. You still had to watch, though, and sit quietly.

The therapy there was intense, though, and you did up to 3 hours a day. This could be in the form of group therapy, team-building exercises, or one-on-one with your therapist. Sunrise therapy was all DBT, or dialectical behavioral therapy. This form of therapy was developed by ex-crazy woman Marsha Linehan, who had a history of banging her head against asylum walls in bipolar fits. While DBT might work for some, this therapy was not what I needed. In the RTC though, there wasn't any other kind of therapy offered. Additionally, the staff were all mormons. I was placed in a group therapy for alcoholics (I have never been an alcoholic) simply because I had a history of drinking underage. Undoubtedly, their religious teachings influenced their perception of drinking and they tried to convince me that I was an alcoholic. I played into this, and made a huge show one day about how I finally accepted the fact that I had a problem. I cried, and I asked to call my dad to apologize for my "disease". Right in the middle of group therapy, we called my dad on speaker phone and I sobbed to him about how I needed to address my alcoholism while I was at Sunrise, blah, blah, blah. The therapist ate it up. I had to pull many stunts like this, where I admitted I needed help for problems I didn't have. It was honestly easier that way than trying to convince staff and therapists that I didn't have problems like alcoholism (fast forward to now, I'm 22 and I don't even drink/smoke weed/do drugs). A big part of making "therapeutic progress" just seemed to be saying you had all of the problems they said you did. It was a matter of bending to their will, which I did quickly and without hesitation when I arrived and realized what was happening. I didn't care about what was right or wrong, I just cared about convincing them of my therapeutic progress, advancing through the level system, and getting the fuck out of there.

I still have some problems from being at Sunrise. I regularly have nightmares about being sent back. It wasn't until almost a month ago that I had the nightmare and actually realized in it that I was 22 years old and could leave when I wanted! Additionally, the meals they fed me at Sunrise were nutritionally lacking and I remember always, always, always being hungry. They have a "vegetarian" option for girls who want it, which includes a meager amount of tofu with some meals. Even if you go with the regular option, it is not enough food, especially if you consider the ridiculous amount of exercise you do daily. We ran every day, as well as attended either dance class or yoga class. Because of the small amount of nutritionally void food I had available to me at Sunrise, I am now very selective and anxious about the food I eat. If I don't have food available to me (at work, for example) I get a panicky, sick feeling until I realize that I can call my supervisor to come break me so I can buy a snack. Little instances like this happen all the time, and I get very anxious very quickly until I tell myself "just go buy a banana from the deli". It is not the end of the world, and I'm not traumatized in any way, but I think about Sunrise every day and how the littlest things have seeped into my adult life and made it that much harder to cope with on a daily basis.

I want to acknowledge that I was still very lucky in my "troubled teen" experience because I know that there are many places I could have gone where I would have actually been exposed to abuse and violence. We always heard stories about Cinnamon Hills and how the staff there were allowed to hit the teens. We were jealous of the kids a New Haven, though! We heard that they got a lot more freedom, but I don't know how true that is. There is so much that is kept secret in these treatment centers. It's terrifying. As a last note, I'll say that I'm very sorry to those of you who had even worse times and are survivors of the systematic abuse that can happen so easily in these institutions. Please message me if you have any questions or just want to talk.

The Sunrise RTC is in the media mostly known for the terrible traffic accident which killed two girls during an outing. At Redcliff Ascent there has been many escape attempt and even a riot which resulted in arrests of the involved teenagers.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

PUMAGIRL at Excelsior Youth Center

This testimony was found on the Internet as a comment to an article about the so-called treatment facility. All rights goes to the original author.

All lies - try 45 girls to a unit not 12. They look like mid-century mental hospital rooms.
I was here in 1986-1989 and staff steals from you. If you say anything, 24 hours lock up for you my earrings were gone and the witch had the nerve to wear them to work claiming they were hers. There was nothing I could do plus because I said something I was locked up 24 hours straight in a dirty room with no mattress. Btw my mom had the earrings custom made for me and my best friends 6th grade graduation that included our birthstones to make them more personal on top of the design so how would she have the same pair??? … she wouldn’t that’s how ugh!!!

Do not send your girls here it really messed me up worse than I was I’m 43 now and still have a reoccurring nightmare where I wake up and I’m there it is terrifying every time I have it and it’s been happening since 1989. I always wake up and I’m crying I literally have tears in my eyes because I’m locked up there in my old room and it’s dark and so sad the feeling is just despair!

Don’t do this to your girls it ruined my relationship with my mom I never trusted her again and was hurt she actually put me in this prison that is what it is it’s horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They made me feel like I was nothing and put me down every chance they had because they said I was conceded or I thought too much of myself … how does one do that and why would they want me to feel like less of anything.

My friend June Pena hung herself when I was there I’ll never forget the look on her face hanging in the laundry room “ever” !! By the way June was 14 and that’s as far as her life went I hate this place and everyone who works here old hags just under paid pissed off jealous evil witches then they have a website called “working at excelsior youth center” complaining about the girls and how they laugh at them with one another “how professional” !!! And saying that they are horrible, dirty (hygiene wise not true) also some claiming the girls are too much trouble and not worth it and they’re too hard to deal with. Well they knew where they were applying what did they expect sweet valley high? And if that’s how they feel about the girls why work there to begin with? To take it out on the girls that their life didn’t turn out as they hoped I mean if they feel like they were too good for the job they should have got a better education or married a doctor like I did I guess they’re the ones who really needed the help … bums!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

A stay at Kolob Canyon RTC

This testimony was found on Yelp. All rights goes to the original author

I am a previous girl from Kolob and i will say i had the worst time ever.

My basic rights as a human being were taken away from me, I was forced to take various amounts of psychiatric drugs (which is against my religion) I also do not agree with the drugging of children teens adults or of the elderly, most if not all "medication" (drugs) that are given are in the same category as heroin meth and coke and have the exact side effects that you are trying to get away from. Don't like how you feel on them, too bad you have to wait for the "Doctor" to come back in and talk to you. They give you the wrong dose or give it to you at the wrong time and you fall asleep due to it, to bad you will still get in trouble.

There have been numerous girls who have had medical issues ignored just because staff did not want to deal with it. Girls that were sick had to deal with it by themselves and staff would not help unless it was basically to the point of death. I've seen girls twist and sprain joints even a few dislocations without even a single glance from the staff. I understand "safety and super safety" (when you first come in to make sure you are not a run or suicide risk) but a lot of times girls would have to do early morning horse chores in nothing but slippers and just sweats and a light hoodie while there was at least 4 feet of snow on the ground, that's around half an hour out in that condition to make sure all the horses water is broken and they are properly feed.

There is no real dietary care for each girl individually, when i was there we were put on the dietary needs of the biggest girl that was there ( around 200 pounds) i gained a tremendous amount of weight to the point where i had to go on a diet when i get home cause i was considered obese. I was lied to by my on site therapist and i was made to take punishments for things i did not do. The girls there have no say in anything and will never be listened too.

If anything it is a sever state of Stockholm syndrome, and they "get better" due to the fear of punishment that they will receive. I am actively working to get Kolob looked into and investigated. I have sever night terrors from my stay at Kolob and wake up screaming almost every night. I would highly recommend that you find alternative methods to helping your child.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

jmb2605 at Provo Canyon School

A testimony from a author known as "jmb2605"

I was at PCS from 98-00.

I was beaten, starved, drugged and mentally abused. I was subjected to monthly vaginal exams FOR NO REASON. I have not ever had an STD or any of the likes. I was given meds for conditions I never had. I was locked in obs for DAYS, or straped to a board while i laid in urine because they wouldnt feed me or let me go to the bathroom. I spend 6 weeks in a small chair with my knees against the wall with no contact with ANYONE. I lost over 70lbs. And my therapist had my parents fooled into thinking that it was all great. My parents once flew across the country to see me just to be told I wasnt allowed to see them. (because they had me in obs naked) I once had to sit in the snow in only pants and a t-shirt for hours for saying NO. I spent more time on investment than anywhere else.

I was sent with a small group of girls into the wilderness for 7 days with men who i had no idea who they were, and it was called a privledge. We had no bathroom or proper food. These outtings were described to my parents as "treats".

I have royally screwed up my life because I went in as a 14 year old kid and I came out so warped and screwed up. I followed my mom around like a dog for months when i came home, i was use to being told when i could eat, pee, sleep and then BAM nothing. I got use to being called by my last name and didnt respond to my first anymore. my number 326, really messes me up, my birthday being the 26th. I hate that number. I wont buy things if the total comes up to that. I have big anxiety problems.

I have two children and no husband, because i want love and someone to need me but i do not enjoy physical contact, and fear sleep. I sleep on an average of 4 hours a night, if that. I hate being naked. I HATE IT. I feel like i was subjected to being a show item infront of men and women alike. I was stripped like a doll and left on the floor of obs so many times. My first night there i didnt fully understand why i needed to get naked and squat infront of someone i had never in my life seen. They dialed 9 and i was searched and all my clothes taken from me. Im in no way saying i didnt have issues. My step dad was abusing my whole family and i acted out. I have very deep depression and I am slowly working through it.

I have been out of PCS for 11 years and rarely a week goes by that I dont have nightmares.but that places damages a child more than anyone can repare. ANyone that needs to talk I am here.

While it is unclear how damaging the long-term effects of a stay in such a facility can turn out to be, it must be clear that none can walk away without damage. A classic example is the case of manslaughter of a person convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor. The 21 year old women who took his life as an act of defense was a former "student" of Provo Canyon School, who after her release from the facility became an easy prey for an older man who at the time of his murder was the center of a police investigation tied to drug abuse. The family had used a lot of money on the useless treatment at Provo Canyon School so there was no left for a high priced lawyer who would have got her cleared of the charges.

In year 2000 Charter Behavioral Health Systems sold Provo Canyon School to Universal Health Services, Inc.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

A testimony about Provo Canyon School

Here are another testimony from the early days of in the existence of Provo Canyon School. All rights goes to the unnamed author

I was a "student" there too.

It was indeed horrible. There is no way to describe it but the truth needs to be told so I will do my best. They use girls as examples of how not to misbehave, for instance: one staff member didnt like what one girl said so for two weeks she was forbid to speak only write it down on a note book for others to read. Their distored reasoning was to have her think about what she was saying but every time she made a mistake and spoke by accident she recieved an infration and would have to sit for hours in "chair structer" and if u made a mistake there it would continue to increase the time u spent in the torture room.

Sometimes girls were on that unit the whole time I was there I never knew them or their names for months and months they would sleep on cotts in the hall way with lights in their faces. Where pink sweats. Never ever go outside. I heard they fed them worse food than the others were offered which was horrible in nutional value. That was a BIG deal, we were lucky and it was a major privlidge if you recieved: Edible Food, Clothes, Going out door (for a short period of time), a Bed, contact with ne one at all (including in faculty) but especially ur family, this was highly detoured.

I recall my family planning a trip from Colorado to come visit me and I was walking on eggshells making sure to be "perfect" so I would recieve the visit because that was always held over your head. I have no recolection of why I got into so much trouble but it was a huge deal and instead of going to go out of the place with my family they granted me with sitting in a different room in the front lobby for two days with them, crying about how horrible it was and how depressed they made me, but they manipulated my parents into thinking that I was over reacting because of the meds i was on. They for sure brainwashed me and caused me way more issues than when i went in and i stilll suffer from severe anxioty, i also beleve i have post tormatic stress disorder but have nerver been diognosed.

This was 12 years ago and I still havent let my anger and frustration go toward what this school did to me. It was of no help what so ever to me and I pleed with ne on sending their child here to choose a different program that allows family envolvement, be suspecious if they dont allow u to freely contact ur child.

While it is unclear how damaging the long-term effects of a stay in such a facility can turn out to be, it must be clear that none can walk away without damage. A classic example is the case of manslaughter of a person convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor. The 21 year old women who took his life as an act of defense was a former "student" of Provo Canyon School, who after her release from the facility became an easy prey for an older man who at the time of his murder was the center of a police investigation tied to drug abuse. The family had used a lot of money on the useless treatment at Provo Canyon School so there was no left for a high priced lawyer who would have got her cleared of the charges.

In year 2000 Charter Behavioral Health Systems sold Provo Canyon School to Universal Health Services, Inc.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

New film-project: A basement in Queens

From the fundraiser website:

When friends hear the bizarre stories of what happened to me in the program, they are shocked and often tear up. No one can believe that any parent could leave their child in a full-on drug rehab for three or more years, with hard-core drug addicts and criminals.

I survived three years in Aurora Concept Inc., one of the first troubled teen programs in the country. Officially a drug rehabilitation center or therapeutic community ("TC"), it was actually more like an abusive cult. For years I felt that I was part of an underground survivors society.
Originally created for adult heroin addicts in 1972, Aurora Concept Inc. started bringing in kids as young as 12. In 1982, I had just turned 14, was smoking a little pot, missed a lot of school and had emotional problems. I needed help. A psychologist suggested Aurora to my parents. He heard it was a great place for teens. It wasn't. Even the neighbors didn't have a clue what was going on “In that Basement”.

Aurora used a mixture of shame, humiliation, military-type structure and thought reform (brainwashing). This "treatment" was adapted from the methods of a cultish group called Synanon (1958-1991), which pioneered the model that went on to influence the modern “Troubled Teen Industry”. Its leaders were high school dropouts whose sole qualification was having themselves been addicts. Like Synanon, Aurora was also led by high school dropouts and former addicts; Jerry Lucci, Sandi Lucci and Louie Cino. They shaved heads, forced clients to wear bizarre costumes and degrading signs, and used extreme techniques like sleep deprivation, primal screaming, and constant guilt confessionals to tear people down to nothing.

I was forbidden from telling my parents, family or friends about the bizarre treatment I was subjected to in Aurora.

The average stay was three years. Either you "graduated" from Aurora, or you were garbage. I wanted out so I "split" many, many times and was eventually kicked out, never graduating.

Through interviews over the last decade, I have come to understand that this treatment can and has worked for the hard-core, adult drug addict. Many feel that they would be dead today if not for Aurora. I am glad for them and truly mean it, but this story focuses mainly on the adolescent experience.

The difference is that these extreme measures often wreak permanent damage on the adolescent brain and ego. Damage I am still trying to repair. 30+ years later, many adolescents like me have recurring nightmares, traumatic memories and PTSD.

Jerry Lucci, Sandi Lucci and Louie Cino were taken down by NY Attorney General, Elliot Spitzer in 1999.

Ex-clients and parents continue to ask questions:
  • Where is all of our personal information, our psychological files?
  • What happened to all the money they made off of us and our parents and medicaid?
  • Can we still sue them?
  • Why didn't they go to jail?

I am committed to making this film. I have been working on it for more than eight years and much of the work is already done and paid for.
The total budget for this film is $25,000. I have already invested $18,000 in pre-production. My target of $7,500 here on INDIEGOGO is specifically for two purposes:
  • Interviewing, filming, and editing clients/survivors, families, and faculty of The Aurora Concept, the related travel expenses and editing costs
  • Additional research and interviews on adolescent brain development
I am sharing digital and DVD copies of In a Basement in Queens, as well as opportunities to see a screening of the film before the final cut, dedicate a message in the credits, or even become a producer of the film.

Thank you for making this documentary possible.

Not until Facebook did I realize that there were others out there like me. Lots of others. I finally figured out how to deal with my trauma - I'd tell my story, and maybe even help others.

The Aurora Concept Inc. is closed, but this model of "treatment" for adolescents still exists. I hope that by telling my story, and the stories of other Aurora Concept survivors, we will warn parents on the verge of making the same mistake ours did. Don't send your troubled teen to an institution like this. Stop and seek other options.

Making a balanced and cohesive documentary film is difficult. This is true in this case for several reasons, including the fact that The Aurora Concept is closed, speaking about their experiences is often traumatic for survivors, and much of the documentation of the activities at the Aurora Concept has been destroyed.

I know not everyone is in the position to make a financial contribution today, but there are lots of other ways to help make this film:
  • If you or someone you know was involved with the Aurora Concept and has photos, film, or stories to share, please contact me today. Click the pink link next to the video at the top that says "Ask a question", or email me at
  • Like us on Facebook and share our posts.
  • Please use the INDIEGOGO share tools in the menu on the left to spread the word

Thank you for your help today!



Sunday, May 15, 2016

I survived PCS

This testimony was found on a website called "Torture Canyon School". It tells the story about being a patient at Provo Canyon School under the old ownership.

My 1'st night there, I was thrown into obs, (observation) and because it was the Friday, I didn't get any clean clothes, or toiletries until Monday.

There forms of discipline were two extremes: They either treated us like immature children, giving us 'punishments' like, sitting on a chair facing the wall for hours on end, or, they would get extremely physical with us, calling (dial 9's) - restraints, which pretty much meant, that if a girl were to show any signs of emotional distress, all the available staff in the area, were to grab a limb, and slam her against the wall as forcefully as possible, as they drug her to obs. It was like a game to the staff. A competition to see who could leave the most bruises on a patient.

My first night, I got a dial 9, because I was upset about being there, and I was confused, but I wasn't freaking out or anything. Two guys just came out of nowhere and tackled me. The next morning I had bruises everywhere, and I 'got' to see the campus doctor. He recorded them, but just waved them off as 'routine.'

I tried to tell my parents about the form of abuse that was taking place here (it happened daily, constantly. There wasn't a day that went by, that you weren't constantly hearing over the staff radio "DIAL 9!" And the screaming. You could always hear the screaming of the girls from inside obs.) You couldn't contact your parents for the first two weeks, so I wrote them. Telling them what happened. And their reply was "'Thats a lovely story (they obviously thought I was BS-ing them, trying to get them to withdraw me) Perhaps you can write a novel when you get home." Also, since there was so access to a telephone, there was no way to contact the authorities to help the abuse issues.

There also was the food. The same menu every week. Oatmeal for breakfast. Pasta for lunch. Tacos for dinner. And, since there were so many anorexics, they were essentially ''force-feeding'' us. (we had to take everything offered (a ridiculous amount of food) and finish it all.) So, if you weren't suffering from an eating disorder, you would gain weight. Not, to mention that the food offered was ridiculously unhealthy.

I went through two therapists in my duration there. My first therapist and I never talked about anything. He mostly used our sessions to bring up my past and make me feel guilty about every little thing that I've ever done in my life. When he left, I got another one, who wasn't an upgrade. She used our sessions, to gripe about her personal life, and we stared at each other in awckward silence and read Oprah magazines. The website is very misleading. It brags about how great its school system is. But, what it doesn't say, is that it consists of a square hallway, 11 classrooms, and adults that are even barely qualified to teach the subjects they teach. The classes aren't arranged by grade, because there isn't even a system, so while the parents are under the influence their child will stay 'up to date' with their credits, they're really just being thrown into what ever class is availible, i.e a Seinor in basic algebra.

I Still vividly remember that godforsaken place.

The PCS Lingo, that all the girls used, the Staff, my Peers.

I'm haunted by memories of that place. I dream about it...could you even call those dreams?

I just hope that someday enough people will fight hard enough to liberate those that are still trapped in places like that. I don't see why anything hasn't been done yet.

In year 2000 Charter Behavioral Health Systems sold Provo Canyon School to Universal Health Services, Inc.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

bringbackbreeches at Island View

This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights goes to the original author known as bringbackbreeches

Warning: this is gonna be long as hell.

No details on who I am or when I went, sorry, other than I was there when it was still called Island View. I'm ultra paranoid about being identified and want to distance myself from it all. I'm happy to talk via PM. One little hint I'll give out publicly is that while I attended there, someone called in a bomb threat, so we were all moved to the church down the street. Sat around for seven hours bored out of our skulls, but got to eat pizza and not go through the daily miserable routine. It was a nice reprieve, so if you're the person who called it in, thanks man. I owe you a pizza.

I graduated as a test. I spent more than a year there. I graduated having one of the most prestigious 'job' you could be assigned, and was seen as a diplomat between teams and as vastly improved by the facility. By all accounts, I seemed like the perfect success story.

A couple years later, I had a sympathetic therapist who was astonished by all of what I'd told him. He had no idea. Given, he probably didn't have the extensive education a psychologist or psychiatrist would have, but he didn't have a lot of contact with the TTI because he was mostly an adult therapist. He told me a buddy of his was an investigator for these sorts of places, and asked me if I wanted him to try to coax this investigator into giving Island View a closer look. Of course I said yes, so he told me he was going to call him up, put him on speakerphone, and pretend he was just talking to him one on one, and for me to be quiet, so we could get the response he'd give a colleague.

So he rang him up and asked him if he knew about Island View, the investigator said of course, then told him my allegations against the place. Keep in mind, I wasn't pulled from the RTC, I didn't barely graduate on impact, I was well-regarded when I graduated.

The investigator paused, and this is what he said (I'll remember this until the day I die): "That's ridiculous. I've toured that facility multiple times and can attest to the highest level of professionalism in the business. It sounds like you've got a disgruntled ex-patient on your hands trying to get some attention or sympathy."

Even typing this out now makes my heart race. I've never been quiet since then about telling people about the place, but the few times I've had friends start to rally, get angry, get motivated to make a petition or launch an investigation, I've told them not to bother.

Here's why: Anyone who stayed at Island View for a long period of time will remember the routine when they sent investigators over: we were made to double deep clean our rooms. The people who were on yellow zone or individual focus were either sequestered to their room with the door closed, or the door to the whole hallway was closed off. Anyone below an impact caught talking to the investigators could get privileges pulled and were told not to interact with them, not to look at them. At best, if you were asked a question by them, you were pressured to smile and look engaged in your schoolwork. The investigators were led around by tests, usually the team leaders. If anyone of any level said anything bad or incriminatory to the investigators, you could face serious trouble. And if my memory serves me right, which it might not because there are thankfully big great gaps missing from this period in my life, they would serve the 'good' food when these investigators rolled through. The burgers and fries and sometimes even root beers and cream sodas. They did that when parents came through too. And if I recall correctly, they mostly toured the school and only briefly strolled through the actual housing units.

This place practised conversion therapy. They practised solitary confinement. They practised gender confirmation therapy. They used excessive force when restraining non-dangerous patients. (I mean, that's why they had to sell the place.) They practised extreme social manipulation. They practised literal brainwashing! A kid killed himself there. There were multiple accounts of sexual abuse. But I was a 'disgruntled ex-patient looking for attention or sympathy'.

So yep. There's my contribution to 'these lovely human beings have all the possible cards you could imagine stacked against you' argument. If I had no soul, moral conscience, or empathy for other living beings, this whole industry has an amazing business plan.

Island View was part of the collapse of Aspen Education Group. Is was sold and renamed. It is now open under another name. It might not be so bad now if the patients can phone home from day one to family and friends perferally given their own cell-phone


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Joice at Elan School

Today the now closed Elan is the media due to the retrial against Michael Skakel. Many teenagers who were there later committed suicide. The "confessions" made at the facility were result of extreme pressure.

My name is Joice. I also was sent to E'lan 4 in 1977. The day before my 14th birthday.

As with any new resident the next day I had to sing in front of everyone in m/m. I was there for a total of three years. stayed 2x. I was put in the ring, tried to escape with Cindy Kieth. What was I thinking. The place was sealed tighter than a fortress. The people that were declared "uncontrollable" were placed there. And forgotten about.

Elan did not give hope but rather took it. I remember Frankie. I believe he had cerebral palsy. Know for sure he was epileptic AND had a metal plate in his head. Almost everyday Peter McCann would come into the dining room and start picking out the largest guys and taking them secretly to a room. That was no secret...we all knew he was preparing a cowboy ass kicking for Frankie. Sure enough you would hear Frankie screaming and his body hitting the floor, walls and the big guys fists and feet. Frankie didn't do shit to deserve THAT.

I was always in the ring. I was the one with the head gear on covering my face with my 16 oz boxing gloves. And the spankings. There were these two huge guys. George Washington was one. Really nice guy. Everyone used to pick on him. When he spanked you (me) you knew it. I got so used to that I would start laughing. That frustrated Peter. He got this other guy. Don't know his name. His technique was the two handed spank. One would hit you the other would ricochet you off the chair. I was always a "shot-down". I was defiant. No matter what they did there was no way I was going to do it thier way. "fake it til you make it". All those tight houses. 4 was always on a tight house. I was so depressed there I just went into another realm. I was made to scrub the dumpster outside by the kitchen area with the maggots still in there. It was so fucken gross. Finally they stuck me down in the laundry room with Jeffrey Weintraub as my worker. I let Nanette Walls escape one day during cheerleading practice. She got caught, I got shot down then turned into a "nothing" doing daily's everyday.

I wanted to pretend like this part of my life never happened and I was doing really good at it. But then something made me look it up and to my JOY I see it has been closed forever. It never should have lasted as long as it did. I have also seen a couple of peoples names that I remember being there with. I hope to be able to get in touch with some people.

Elan School closed in 2011.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Anon at Devereux Glenholme

This testimony was found on HEAL-online's message board

I had the 'pleasure' of being sent to this place when I was around 11 or 12,in 1992 or '93. My stay there was cut short, thank God,because my stepfather, a Navy man, was being transferred out of state.

First of all we'll start with the glamorous brochures and outlandish claims of lavish accommodations afforded the 'students' at their 'school'. I was,at the time,in an acute care mental facility for children and adolescents in Rhode Island,diagnosed with bipolar disorder, when discussions for my future care were being held by all concerned.

Somehow, Devereux Glenholme was included. With glossy brochures featuring pictures of go-kart tracks (that I'd never get to use) and ice cream shops, they lured me in. Nothing but a shameless sales pitch. Well, the first week I was there I was on the phone to my mother, desperately begging for her to come get me out of there. It all started with the 'discipline' regime which involved, as another poster had said, having to stand behind your chair at mealtimes and having to march around single file, not allowed to speak or anything - but that really wasn't too bad compared to what had me on the phone.

One morning, I was accosted by two older,bigger (I was 11 or 12) 15-16 year old boys who,wearing blankets,gave me a 'blanket party' while I was still in bed. Kids will be kids, right? But this happened in the full view of a staff member who watched the entire thing happen, without intervening - this staff member being a full grown man - he watched as a boy older and bigger than me climbed onto the top bunk with me and punched me repeatedly in the face and head. This man said he wouldn't intervene because it could expose him to liability. What a coward.

More fun at Devereux Glenholm included finding my suitcase with my belongings rifled thru and vandalized in their basement of one of their oh-so-lovely 'cottages'. Apparently, Glenholm places more emphasis on collecting its hundred + thousand a year 'tuition' than on protecting the wellbeing or the property of the 'students' who they collect it from.

Also there were the little tile rooms - probably the most egregious of offenses to humanity and sanity that Devereux Glenholm had to offer in my stay with them. They had several of these rooms -not included in the information in what can only be described as their sales brochures, to be sure - all across their campus,about the size of a small bathroom. These rooms were covered from floor to ceiling with tile, they were dimly lit and featured a door with no handle on the inside and a drain in the center of the room. Oftentimes, I was placed in one of these rooms and there was excrement left in them from children who had been held in them before. Just as the poster above mentioned - they didn't let you out of there for hours for anything; bathroom, water, food,etc. Yes-these criminals denied children access to basic human needs. And an interesting note was that at the time,or so I was told, it was illegal in the state of Connecticut to lock a child in a room using an actual deadbolt or other fastening device, so they used to have the older kids act as 'holders', or in other words, they would throw a kid in one of these holes, and have another child hold the door shut so that you could not get out. Speculatively, one can imagine what the 'holder' could get away with regarding tormenting the child he was keeping in the room when he was unsupervised - perhaps even while he was supervised, given the manner in which staff dealt with even physical assaults between the children as I have described above.

As to the 'amenities' at Devereux Glenholm - I was there maybe 9 months. Not once was I allowed to use the go-karts, the track seemed to never get used either. The pool -interestingly, if you look at their website, its the same one they had there back when I was incarcerated there in the early 90s, and looks like it was built in the 70s - I got to use once. For maybe 15 minutes. I don't recall the horses there,but I'll tell you, just like all the other 'amenities' at glenholm, those horses are just there to entice people to pay them to take their kids. Most of the time we were either in what they call 'classrooms',or the 'cottages', or we were being forced to participate in some form of what they called 'leisure activities', which was just more excersize in 'discipline', as 'leisure' meant doing things like practicing square dancing or other horribly dull and droll (square dancing,for kids?seriously?) 'activities' that if you didn't participate in, and with a 'good attitude'- see above about the little tile rooms. As for 'therapy' sessions - I remember one 'session' in particular that was being led by a so-called 'councilor', the excersize was to compose a 'group rap'. So we all had to sit around and make rap lyrics. How therapeutic.

Devereux Glenholm,as I remember it, was a nightmare. There is nothing a child can do,nothing so 'wrong' with a child,that should ever prompt a parent to consider sending them to this private, run for-profit juvenile prison that masquerades itself as an amenities rich 'care facility'. I'd like to,at this time,remain anonymous unless and until a class action suit or other suitable remedy is ever pursued,but feel free to post my story on your website. Your doing a good thing exposing these adolescent gulags to the world- as much as they like to claim and aggrandize their success stories about their 'students' going on to become doctors and such,for every one of those kids- theres probably 20 kids that were terribly ruined by them who's stories they don't post on their slick web sites.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Unknown at Red Rock Canyon School

This testimony was found on HEAL-online's website. All rights goes to the author who has chosen to remain unknown

Hello, my name is ******* **** and I am 16 years old.

Orange County Mental Health and the Capistrano Unified School District recommended me to go to Red Rock Canyon School through the courts because I was truant. On March 14th, I was arrested at court and held overnight and at 6:00 am Westfield, or Westerfield Transporters came and picked me up and drove me out to Red Rock Canyon School.

They were nice. Apparently, my mom did not sign the papers but my father was manipulated into signing them. The courts made Red Rock out to be something much greater than it was. Anyhow, I was told on the way there by the transporters that right when I got there I would be allowed to call my mother and my boyfriend of almost one year.

I got there, and they told me that I couldn't write letters to anyone, including my parents, or have any contact with them whatsoever for the first 21 days I was there. Need I remind you, this is a level 14 lockdown facility. I couldn't leave. But for kids there that do try to run and get over the fences, apparently the only requirement for staff members is that they bring the child back alive when they go looking for them. I can recall a story that was told to me by a lady named Gina who worked there about a young girl trying to escape, and when they got her, she did not fight back, but yet they tackled her, stepped on her face, and cracked her jaw.

But back to what I was saying, the first 21 days there were the worst hell. I had to wear these shoes they would call "Jesus Sandals", was only allowed to have my jeans, I had to be "belt looped" everywhere I walked off the unit, and I had to be body searched before and after showers. Every time we use the restroom we had to have the door 6 inches cracked, no less. I was on Green Unit, and my group leader was Alan Shalby. Him and the registered nurse, Nicole, were the only nice people there. My therapists name was Carol Williams, and I later came to the conclusion that she was a polygamist.

After 21 days, you get one family therapy phone call per week, where you and your therapist talk to your parents on the phone on speaker for 45 minutes. After my second therapy call with Carol and my mother, Carol ended up hanging up on my mother because she was "being rude" and I was "breaking the phone rules". The phone rules were "No cussing, no bashing on staff, no bashing the program, no guilt-loading, and no manipulating/lying". Apparently I broke them by saying that "I didn't feel my medical needs were being met". During my first treatment team meeting, Dr. Shannon told me that my family therapy had been suspended and I wouldn't be allowed to contact my mother for 60 days. When Carol hung up on my mother that afternoon, my mom knew something fishy was going on.

Somehow, she had a man named Kelly come to Red Rock to speak to me about what had happened. Apparently he is the man who "gives these places licenses to operate". We spoke in Brian Pace's office. I brought up the fact that I was scared and didn't quite know what was going on with my mother and how long I would be staying for. He replied by saying that I'm just a child and I shouldn't know what's going on in my life as far as how long I'm supposed to be in "treatment" for, and that adults have more rights that children, therefore I should just listen and behave myself because there's nothing I could do to get myself out of there. About the whole "not meeting my medical needs" part, you see, I have had surgery on my spine 4 times, and to this day there is something wrong with my spine that hasn't been fixed yet.

While I was at Red Rock, whenever I asked for tylenol, they told me to "drink water". After a while, they gave me advil, and I was coughing up blood from it. They did nothing. The following weekend, I had a fever of probably 100% or more, and a horrible cold. I asked a lady who takes care of the "student store", Tami, if she could call my mother just to let her know I was really sick. Tami called my mother and told her "Naomi isn't feeling well but she's being given medicine and as much rest as she needs. No worries." My mom didn't know until she got a letter from me that I was given an allergy pill for my cold and fever, yet I have no allergies, and was forced to go sit in the schoolroom and work on schoolwork all day long and was never given a chance to rest.

Now about the staff...well there's a lot of shadiness, and a lot of "drama" and rumors breaking confidentiality of the children. Last year, (I was not there but certain staff members like Annie, Gina, Laura, and Alan Shalby all on Green Unit have told me this themselves) the paramedic, Adam, had sexual relations with a young girl in the program. They brought it up to him and questioned her, but when they came to the child, she put the attention on someone else, and he was never given a consequence. In fact he still works there. Even the days I was there, I would see him flirting with all of the young girls, ages 12-17. In my unit, there was actually and 11 year old girl there, when the minimum age was 12, who was placed there for "attitude problems".

Anyhow, another horrible staff member was Melvin, the weekend supervisor. He was always going around, staring inappropriately at all of the young girls. There was a girl named Sabrina who was there while I was, and he apparently "wanted to be with her". Which is quite interesting, considering Melvin is waiting for his child to be born. The mother of the baby is a woman who worked at the front desk, and they conceived the baby on the Red Rock campus in Melvin's office. And Darlene have her down as "Girl's Resource Room". Darlene is the IEP teacher for both girls and boys, and Tami M. is who the boys and girls go to for resources, such as toiletries, clothes, ect. Oh, and Vincent, the PE teacher; when I told him I had back problems so I couldn't participate in PE, he let me sit out everyday, but he would never call me by my name- he would call me "broke back", making fun of the fact the I have rods and screws up and down my entire spinal cord. And Brent...well he is very manipulative. He is the person that loves making sure these poor kids are becoming institutionalized, so they think that it isn't "wrong" for them to be there.

Now, Oscar. Oscar is very scary. There is a ground of four girls on Coral Unit who always physically beat up the most vulnerable girl in their unit at the time. As a punishment, Oscar would make them all go into a small room together called "RI", or "re- investment", from 5 AM until 11 PM. They would eat their meals in there. The RI rooms are very cold and you aren't allowed to have any of your belongings including your sweater or shoes until you get out. Oscar would send them there daily for this amount of time. Bo Hunt is Oscar's sister, or they are related in some kind of way. There was never a day where I didn't walk by Bo and see her screaming at a different kid each time, putting them down, making them feel at fault about everything bad that's happened to them.

Kaitlynn Robertson is the Green Unit teacher, and she is a drunk. She'd always come into work very hungover, and very grouchy towards all of the kids. She rubs it in the children's faces that she gets to go home at night, but we don't. Angela, the nurse, was another large problem for me. She was always very rude, and when I would ask for help with my back pain, she would always tell me I was "drug seeking". Excuse me if I said this once before, but to kindly correct your information, Alan Shalby is the group leader on Green Unit. Steel Unit is no longer running, but before I left they were going to open it back up again because all of the other male units were filling up. Green Unit was very crowded. There were two bunk beds and one normal bed in my room, which I'm sure exceeds the legal population of a tiny room in a place like this. Kasey Nelson no longer works for Red Rock either. This place is very unhealthy and unsafe for children.

I was there for fourty- something days. With barely any contact with my mother, I prayed to God every night that he would bring a miracle my way. In the end, he answered my prayers, and my mother drove out and picked me up and pulled me from the program out of the blue and placed me in a very nice dual diagnosis treatment center that was a 60 day program in Long Beach, CA called Center for Discovery. My therapist at Center for Discovery saw the report and told me she was disgusted to the point of vomiting from reading all of the nasty, untrue things they wrote on the report about myself.

I was released from there on May 24 and am at home now. I apologize for my email being so scattered, but hopefully this information will be useful. I saw my surgeon two days ago, and I'm waiting for the CT scan to come back. The second I find out what is wrong with my spine, my family is going to be filing a lawsuit against them for not meeting my medical needs while I was there and not meeting my therapeutic needs. There are a few things that I left out. Sherman Habibian, the owner, is engaged to a nurse in the clinic at RRCS named Lacey. And also, they have two potbelly pigs there at Red Rock in a pen, and the students sexually abuse the poor pigs all of the time.