Sunday, September 8, 2013

OM at Carolina Springs Academy and Tranquility Bay

This testimony was published in the WWASP survivors group on Facebook by OM who maintains all rights to this testimony.

I am really glad i found this group. I was at CSA (Carolina Springs Academy) for 8 months. I was taken by escorts the day after my 15th birthday.

I made it to level 3 then ran away. I got 5 miles away and then they found me. My mom told them to send me to Tranquility Bay in Jamaica.

Tranquility Bay was very dirty. I didnt want to eat the food there so they sent me to OP where we were kept in tiny rooms. We were only allowed to lay on mats on the floor, the floor was covered in ants. We were not allowed to sit up except for during meals, and if we spoke out of turn they would get violent.

I was restrained by the staff several times for practically no reason. They would grind my face into the hard floor, twist my arms around and crush them on the floor with their knees, and they poked their elbows into the backs of my knees and ground those into the floor also. The more you screamed the more they would hurt you. The guys and girls were separated, but i could hear screams of terror and pain coming from the boys section.

The day came when they took us to get out passports. I had only been there a few weeks but I looked emaciated with dark circles under my eyes, I didnt look like the same person. several other girls and I were taken to the american embassy to get out passports. I refused to sign my passport, I did not want to be in jamaica. I requested to talk to someone from the american embassy. they let me talk to a lady. I showed her my bruises and told her the horror stories. she informed me that they had heard many stories like mine and they had unsuccessfully been trying to close the place down. She said child protection laws were different in jamaica. I gave the lady my moms phone number, and told her to tell her what was going on.

When we got back to the facility they put me in isolation. The only reason they did that was because i hadnt signed my passport. I was in isolation for two weeks. Didn't get to talk to a single person during that time. I was just laying on a mat on the floor trying to keep my mind entertained. I would visualize my home and all the good memories I could remember, I would picture every place I had lived and every memory there to try and pass the time. After a while I felt crazy and began to hallucinate and see faces in the walls. After 2 weeks of isolation they moved me back to OP.

I was in Jamaica for about two months, in the program a total of nearly 11 moths. My mom was schocked by what the embassy told her and arranged for me to come home. My mom didn't recognize me when she saw me again. I was too skinny and sick looking, my skin was bad from their nasty cheap soap, My hair was like straw, and my nose would bleed every time i tried to eat. I was so happy to be free. correctional school was one of the worst experiences of my life.

Sometimes it feels like there aren't many people who understand what we went through. thanks for reading my story, I would love to be friends with people who have been through similar experiences. Even though its been 7 years it still haunts me.

Carolina Springs Academy was closed due to stricter regulation of the boarding school business in South Carolina. After the closure dead animals was found on the former campus due to possible neglect. Tranquility Bay closed down after introduction of stricter passport rules which prevented minors from being sent out of state without a valid passport.


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