Sunday, October 16, 2016

Student feedback on Ashcreek Ranch Academy

My name is XXXX.

I am on my step brothers account. I just recently came home from a ten month stay at Ash creek.

I have a lot to say about this place and the people who run it. First of all, I personally think Tammy Prince (aka Tammy Berhmann) and Darren Prince, the owners of the program, are manipulative, consumed in their own wealth, and deceitful to parents looking to send their kid to Ashcreek. I saw Darren come in and give tours all the time, making sure to choose the most well behaved students to come and glorify the program. The teachers every time would come and play like puppets when darren was giving tours. The only relationship I have seen Darren build with a student is one where he was taking him to LDS church services every sunday.

I witnessed numerous accounts of misconduct during my time at Ash creek. A restraint that resulted in some sort of wrist injury ( the student had a cast for a few weeks), insensitive and religiously biased comments in group therapy about a homosexual student. There was nothing derogatory said, however the program director at the time said that he " didnt agree with the choice to be gay" . He emphasized several times that he believed it was a choice. I personally was shoved into a window by an employee at the ranch, and the glass broke. He did this in reaction to me shoving him in the shoulder ( i meant it playfully, however it was not appropriate on my end) . The staff was put on suspension, came back two weeks later and then left a few months after that and no longer works there. One of Ashcreeks policy is that if a student is refusing to do something they are to be restrained physically by bending the wrist, even if that student was not in physical danger to himself or others.

Garth Lasater, the clinical director, is a great man who invests personally in each student. He was always kind, proffesional, and respectful. Dave Saldana, the residential director, is also a very open minded man who supports and cares for every kid. Garth actually bought me a pair of sneakers because mine were in poor condition. Another thing is that the food is mostly frozen stuff warmed in an oven by our cook. At one time we were having frozen corn dogs once a week, we still have frozen orange chicken and rice every thursday (as of one week ago when I was there), and little ceasars pizza every friday. The lunch is usually cooked and of higher quality, except for fridays when we ate leftovers in the fridge for lunch.

If you are considering sending your kid to ash creek, please be mindful of Darrens intentions, him being the owner of the program. Really investigate if this is the right place for your son. Ive seen this program send many kids home that seem improved, however they boast about their "success rate", which is based off of how many kids graduate the program, not off of their home behavior. I personally know many kids who are home from ash creek who still display similar behaviors, but that being said i think Ashcreek does teach a lot of good lessons about becoming a man, being less entitled, self sufficient, respectful, and taking accountability for their actions. Unfortunately, i cant say the program itself takes accountability for THEIR actions. I had a lot of struggles at ash creek and that was not the fault at ash creek at all. I relapsed several times and only made it to level 2 in their program. I have been home over a week, i have applied for 3 jobs, i have been attending school every day, communicating well with my family, and I havent touched drugs or cigarettes. Please listen to your kid about what is going on if they are at Ashcreek, or any other treatment center, and do them the favor of really looking into the place before you send them there. I will say that I have seen Ashcreek Academy attempt to improve as a program.

PS: i forgot to mention the academic portion of the program. I passed 9th grade with As and Bs there on time for when I was leaving. How far you progress iin your credits depends on how hard you work. I liked the way the school was run


Sunday, October 9, 2016

isabellabee at Diamond Ranch Academy

This testimony was found on the reddit message board. All rights goes to the original author. The author is asked some questions about the stay. Here are the answers

Of course. I was sent there for disobedience in regards to my parents. Along with minor drug use, very bad grades, and i just had a lot of party habits. I arrived the day before the boy committed suicide. Yes, one large scary man and one woman came into my house at 3 in the morning and dragged me by the arms into their car. I lived in Arizona at the time so the drive was ten hours. They refused to stop for me to use the bathroom and also refused me any kind of food. They also wouldn't tell me where we were going and made me shut up the entire way there. The experience was traumatizing and still haunts me. At the time i thought me and my mom were getting robbed and i was getting kidnapped. Upon entering they stripped searched me, made me take off my makeup, and take out my few piercings. They put two needles in my arm, i can't remember if it was to test me for something or put something in me. They gave me no choice. Then I was put in O&A (observation and assessment) which is now called Orientation. In there i had to ask permission to sit, stand, speak, put chapstick on, ect. We were monitored 24/7 even while sleeping. They put me on "run watch" as they do for most when they first enter. They didn't let me outside for 42 days. All I saw was white walls. They made us clean everything, over and over for absolutely no purpose. We basically had no rights at all and I felt like i was five years old. If you didn't comply with the staffs directives they would restrain you. I didn't wanna cooperate with sweeping the boys weight room on Christmas of 2013 because I had been cleaning the entire day. Because i wouldn't continue sweeping, two large men came over to me and applied a large amount of force on my wrists for about five minutes until I was in hysterics begging them to stop. My right wrist hurt for months.

I was half way through my freshman year of high school when i entered. Since my grades weren't 80 percent or above they made me restart the entire year over. They gave us fake citations for every possible thing we could do wrong. such as talking without permission, cursing, glorifying, inappropriate behavior, wasting food (not eating all your food), and there were probably 60 more. If you got a certain amount you failed your day which just means another day on your program. The systems they had in place were insanely degrading. If you failed a day or your hole week you felt like that was a week wasted of your life. One girl, Pamela, has been in DRA for over three years because of failed weeks. She has several mental problems and DRA has done absolutely nothing to help her. She's sitting in there rotting and her parents are brainwashed thinking she's getting the help she needs. We were forced to eat the disgusting food they served us every day regardless if we wanted it or not. We got three minutes in the shower which eventually progressed to five minutes. If they felt you were suicidal you were put on suicide watch and were forced to sleep in the hallway on the floor under lights with staff hovering over you making sure you didn't move incorrectly. I got strip searched three times a day every day for 42 days. All the doors were locked and the staff were the only ones with access to the keys. If you tried to escape the program staff would chase after you until they tackled you down and you would have to restart the entire program.

Programs generally lasted 10 months, but you had the opportunity to be out in seven and a half which was nearly impossible. Most kids just can't follow the rules because the rules are simply ridiculous and unorthodox. So some are stuck there until they're eighteen and can sign themselves out. I didn't speak to my parents until i was out of O&A which was 42 days after i arrived. My first phone call was monitored by my therapist. I tried to explain to my parents what was going on and as soon as I started crying she hung up the phone. I didn't get another phone call until my therapist thought i was "ready" which really just meant until she thought I wouldn't try and voice the truth to my parents. We were allowed to write letters but any negativity or manipulation sensed in the letters would cause the staff reading it to flag it. Which means it goes through a youth detection counselor, your therapist, the front desk, and the (in my case) girl's campus leader. Half my letters never got to my parents.

This is only what i have heard. I don't know it to be absolute facts, but I've heard it from several people and knowing their manipulative tactics it's most likely true. FACTS: The boy who committed suicide hung himself with his belt during a football game DRA was having. In the commotion of getting everyone outside they left him behind upstairs in his bathroom. They have never made that mistake before because they know the first chance they get to commit suicide they will. (I have never had any sort of suicidal thoughts or feelings in my entire life until I went there. The second I left they all went away and I know for a fact unless I went back there they'll never return. I truly would have rather been dead then spent another day in that concentration camp) This is what i've heard in regards to how he hung himself: They claim he did it on the shower rod and DRA supposedly replaced every shower rod in the facility so that any type of pressure put on it would cause it to collapse. Also after this incident we were no longer allowed to have belts. I've heard many times the truth is that he hung himself in the vent in his bathroom. I don't really know why they would lie about the exact spot he was hanging from but thats just what i've heard. The boy purposely tried to get left behind that day just so he could do this... He was in the program for depression and my biggest problem is he was sixteen years old. He had sixteen other years of his life to commit suicide and he chose to do it at DRA.... Clearly it was because that was the saddest and most depressing point in his life. Yet DRA is said to be uplifting and positive throughout the entire journey.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

A comment about Camp Tracey

This short testimony was given as a comment on another blog. All rights goes to the author.

It wasn’t a summer camp we lived there 365 days out of the year, no phones no way to call 911 letters, checked both incoming and outgoing.

We had no safety net. No one cared about a small town, and the huge farm 10 miles from the nearest anything. Imprisioned us as teens, for the first year and then every 3 months we could go off of property for one day if our parents came. I have a lot to share because I too need to heal from the five years of abuse. I would like to go into details and yes I know most of the staff members on this list. I realize now that the only way for any of us to heal is that we do need to have our story heard to make sure that this does not happen to another child ever again.

Although ct is closed there are many other secret prisons out there for teens and the word needs to get out so we can work to change legislation.

An investigation was started by DCF. They didn't investigate for too long but they managed to close the camp in the process.

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