Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Testimony about Turn-about Ranch (From Reddit.com)

The user on Reddit known made this comment on the webpage Reddit. All rights belong to the original author.

It sounds like the program has changed since I was there.

Similar thing happened to me when I was 17.

During high school, I was kind of a punk...or rather....kind of an obnoxious little brat, much like most 17 year olds of my generation. After a particularly loud argument with my father, we got into a fist fight which caused my mom to call the police.

When they arrived, My father's face was a mostly bruised and bloodied, where as I didn't have a scratch on me (my father was really only trying to hold me down while I thrashed at him). As the cops were beginning to cart me away I made just about the dumbest decision of my life. I turned to glare at my father and said "I'll kill you."

Needless to say, 30 minutes later, I was being escorted by 3 officers into the juvenile ward of a mental hospital. I spent a week imprisoned there with all sorts of drug addicted/bipolar/schizophrenic kids, not once hearing from my parents. During the course of my stay, I was stabbed with a dirty syringe, peed on, bitten, had feces thrown at me, and worst of all, woke up to my "roommate" lying dead in his bed, bedsheets tied around his neck. Now you must realize....I was a pretty well adjusted teenager.

I had nice friends, played music and sports, and did pretty well in school. I had never even been in the same room as any kind of drug. At worst, I was a brat with an additude problem and slight video game addiction. So going through all this scared me absolutely shit-less.

Finally my parents came to visit me, though rather than riding to my rescue like I thought they would, they only came to explain that they were sending me off to "somewhere that could help me". I was handed off the the two largest men I've ever seen, handcuffed and shoved into a car, and driven 18 hours to Middleoffuckingnowhere, Utah (aka Escalante, Utah).

I arrived at a place called Turnabout Ranch. From what I could see, it was basically a very small cabin, a barn, and a couple cows. I was greeted by a pair of haggard old rednecks, 1 man 1 woman. I was told not to speak a word to anyone except them, and only when directly spoken to. They brought me to a lean-to in front of the cabin, and a circle made from rocks, no bigger than 2 feet in diameter. I was told not to leave the circle, unless it was raining in which case i could go under the lean-to. I spent 3 days there, only leaving to go to the bathroom and sleep on the wood floor of the cabin.

After those three days, I was allowed to move "freely" around the ranch and talk to others. It took me about 2 days to attempt my first escape, 3 days for my first suicide attempt, and 1 week to finally get shipped off to another program for being to "unstable".

I was then shipped to Loa, Utah, and another program that I can't recall the name of. I was given my first meal since I arrived in utah that didnt consist of trail mix or ramen. I believe it was rice and beans. I spent a night in a small empty warehouse, sleeping on the floor with a few other kids, surrounded by adults armed with tazers.

In the morning, I was given a sleeping bag, a bedroll, a water bottle, a small sack of rations, placed in a car, and driven to what can only be described as the middle of the Mojave Desert. I was again greeted with more large men with tazers. There were 5 other kids in my "group", all of whom were completely amazing and supportive of each other, unlike our staff who mostly only spoke the threaten us in some way.

We hiked no less than 10 miles a day to resupply points where we could re-fill our clean water and rations. I spent 6 months in that desert, hiking day in and day out, until my 18th birthday when I was required by law to be released. During my time there, I wore only 2 separate changes of clothes, never brushed my teeth, took 5 or 6 "showers" via a bucket with holes in the bottom, was bitten by 2 snakes (and countless bugs), and broke my right ankle twice (i was still required to hike).

When I returned to my hometown, I explained to my parents all that had happened, and when I was done I didn't speak to them for over a year. It was only through a lot of counselling and a very large "We're sorry" monetary gift that I decided to let them back into my life.

Today, we're pretty close. I understand why they sent me away, and they regret not researching these programs more. There are still times where old feeling will emerge and I'll refuse to speak to them for a few days, but it's mostly all passed.

TL;DR My parents sent me to a mental hospital, and 2 separate and abusive "rehab programs" for 6 months.


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