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Getting Out : Creeps

Does this Sound Familiar?

from Tim R - Thursday, July 03, 2003
accessed 4935 times

I just read this article, and it made my blood boil. Go to their site at and look at their newsletter "The Source", all the brainwashed testimonies of their victims speak for themselves.

I have just two questions about these Monsters:

1)Does this remind you of the Victor programs?

2)How do we destroy these people?


Sunday June 29, 2003 The Observer

When you have a teenager on the rampage, who are you going to turn to? In America, parents send their troubled offspring to Jamaica's Tranquility Bay - a 'behaviour-modification centre' which charges $40,000 a year to 'cure' them. Decca Aitkenhead, the first journalist to gain access to the centre in five years, wonders if there isn't too high a price to pay.

Were you to glance up from the deserted beach below, you might mistake Tranquility Bay for a rather exclusive hotel. The statuesque white property stands all alone on a sandy curve of southern Jamaica, feathered by palm trees, gazing out across the Caribbean Sea. You would have to look closer to see the guards at the wall. Inside, 250 foreign children are locked up. Almost all are American, but though kept prisoner, they were not sent here by a court of law. Their parents paid to have them kidnapped and flown here against their will, to be incarcerated for up to three years, sometimes even longer. They will not be released until they are judged to be respectful, polite and obedient enough to rejoin their families.

Parents sign a legal contract with Tranquility Bay granting 49 per cent custody rights. It permits the Jamaican staff, whose qualifications are not required to exceed a high-school education, to use whatever physical force they feel necessary to control their child. The contract also waives Tranquility's liability for harm that should befall a child in its care. The cost of sending a child here ranges from $25,000 to $40,000 a year.

Opened in 1997, Tranquility Bay is not a boot camp or a boarding school but a 'behaviour modification centre' for 11- to 18-year-olds. An American Time magazine journalist visited in 1998, and since then no media have been allowed inside. With all access denied, there has been little coverage beyond sketchy reports based on hearsay - even the local community knows almost nothing of what goes on. My discovery of Tranquility Bay came only by accident in 2000, while living nearby, and all my approaches since then were, like every other media request, firmly rejected.

The owner is an American called Jay Kay. He doesn't trust the media, because 'they go for sensationalist stuff. Nothing has really presented things in a way that is factual.' On the other hand, he believes anyone who saw inside Tranquility would support and admire it, and blames criticism on ignorance. So Kay has been in a dilemma. His business is expanding, and he is turning his attention to the UK, for he believes there is a large untapped market of British parents who would ship their children straight off to Jamaica if only they knew about Tranquility. The British government, too, he hopes, might send him children in its care. 'If social services was interested, at $2,400 a month I bet they can't offer our services for that.'

This spring he decided to grant me and a photographer unprecedented, exclusive access. If he didn't like the result, 'Hell will freeze over before anyone gets in here again.'

The first impression once inside Tranquility Bay's perimeter walls is of disconcerting quiet. Students are moved around the property in silence by guards in single file, 3ft apart - a complicated operation, because girls and boys must be kept segregated at all times, forbidden to look at one another.

Tranquility has a language of its own. The vocabulary is recognisable, but its use has been delicately customised, so that boys are 'males', girls 'females', and they are all divided into single-sex 'families' of about 20. The families have names such as Dignity, Triumph and Wisdom, and are led by a staff member known as the 'family mother' or 'father', addressed by the children as Mum or Dad. The 200 staff are all Jamaican.

Along with multiple guards known as 'chaperones', the family mothers and fathers control and scrutinise their children 24 hours a day. The only moment a student is alone is in a toilet cubicle; but a chaperone is standing right outside the door, and knows what he or she went in to do, because when students raise their hand for permission to go, they must hold up one finger for 'a number one', and two for 'a number two'.

Corporal punishment is not practised, but staff administer 'restraint'. Officially it is deployed as the name suggests, to subdue a student who is out of control. However, former students say it is issued more often as a punishment. One explains: 'It's a completely degrading, painful experience. You could get it for raising your voice or pointing your finger. You know you're going to get it when three Jamaicans walk in and say, "Take off your watch." They pin you down in a five-point formation and that's when they start twisting and pulling your limbs, grinding your ankles.'

Before sending their teen to Tranquility, parents are advised that it might be prudent to keep their plan a secret, and employ an approved escort service to break the news. The first most teenagers hear of Tranquility is therefore when they are woken from their beds at home at 4am by guards, who place them in a van, handcuffed if necessary, drive them to an airport and fly them to Jamaica. The child will not be allowed to speak to his or her parents for up to six months, or see them for up to a year.

Let us say you are a new female assigned to Challenger family. You sleep with your family in one bare room, on beds which are pieces of wood on hinges hung on the walls. The day begins with a chaperone shouting at you to get up. You put on your uniform and flip-flops (harder to run away in) in silence and fold your bed against the wall. The room is now completely bare. After performing chores, the family is ordered to line up, for your family mother to do a head count.

You are walked to a classroom to watch an 'EG' - a 30-minute video intended to promote 'emotional growth' - on a theme such as why you shouldn't smoke. Then the family is lined up, counted and walked to the canteen to eat a plate of boiled cabbage and fish in silence while listening to an 'inspirational tape' broadcast loudly through the room, urging you to, for example, eat healthily.

'If 70-80 per cent of the food you eat is not water rich, what you are doing is clogging your body. Eat 80 per cent water-rich food. Try it for the next 10 days. Watch what happens to your body. It will blow your mind.' Students have no choice in what they eat - there is a seven-day plan of basic Jamaican meals which never changes, and eating less than 50 per cent of any dish is forbidden.

Morning routines vary between families. Some shower (three minutes, cold water), others wash clothes (outside, in buckets, cold water), or exercise (walk round the yard). At 9.30am, each family is moved into a classroom for two hours. You continue the US high-school curriculum where you left off at home, but there is no teaching.

Watched by chaperones, you read prescribed course books, take notes, then sit a test after each chapter. Two or three Jamaican teachers sit at the back of the room in case you get stuck, and they may be able to help. But to mark the tests, they have to use an answer key sent down from the States.

After lunch and another inspirational tape come three further hours of school, a second EG, plus an educational video about a historical figure of note. There is a sports period, a family meeting, a final meal with tape, followed by a period called Reflections, when you must write down what you have memorised from the tapes and EGs. You may also write home to your parents, and though staff can read your mail, you may write what you like. But Tranquility's handbook for parents warns them not to believe anything that sounds like a 'manipulation', the programme's word for a complaint.

There is no free time, and you are never alone. At 10pm everyone is in bed for Shut Down; the lights go off, and Tranquility is silent, save for waves crashing on to the beach below. Chaperones watch you through the night. And the next day is exactly the same. As is the next, and the next.

'Yep, identical,' says Kay. 'Exactly identical. Now you see,' he adds, with a grim nod of satisfaction, 'why kids are not happy here.'

Tranquility Bay is one of 11 facilities affiliated to an organisation in Utah called the World Wide Association of Speciality Programs. The facilities are located in the States and Caribbean region, and although independently owned, all run the same programme, devised by Wwasp.

Jay Kay is 33 years old, and the son of Wwasp's chief director. He opened the facility at the age of 27, after four years as administrator of a Wwasp-run juvenile psychiatric hospital in Utah. Previously he had been a night guard there, and before that a petrol-pump attendant, having dropped out of college. He has no qualifications in child development, but considers this unimportant.

'Experience in this job is better than any degree. Am I an educational expert? No. But I know how to hire people to get the job done.' There is more than a touch of the Jerry Springer guest about his looks - heavy, shaven-headed, colourless, and a similarly deadening certainty of mind. 'I've got the best job in the world,' he claims, but he carries himself like a man who has learnt to expect the worst, and is seldom disappointed.

Tranquility is basically a private detention camp. But it differs in one important respect. When courts jail a juvenile, he has a fixed sentence and may think what he likes while serving it, whereas no child arrives at Tranquility with a release date. Students are judged ready to leave only when they have demonstrated a sincere belief that they deserved to be sent here, and that the programme has, in fact, saved their life. They must renounce their old self, espouse the programme's belief system, display gratitude for their salvation, and police fellow students who resist.

A finely engineered reward-and-punishment system has been designed to effect this change. In order to graduate, students must advance from level 1 to 6, which they do by earning points. Every aspect of their conduct is graded daily and as their score accumulates, they climb through the levels and acquire privileges.

On level 1, students are forbidden to speak, stand up, sit down or move without permission. When they have earnt enough points to reach level 2, they may speak without permission; on level 3, they are granted a (staff-monitored) phone call home. Levels 4, 5 and 6 enjoy significantly higher status. In addition to enjoying privileges, such as (strictly limited and approved) clothing, jewellery, music and snacks, they are employed for three days a week as a member of staff, and must discipline other students by issuing 'consequences'.

Every time a member of staff or upper-level student feels a student has broken a rule, they 'consequence' them by deducting points. Rule-breaking is classified into categories of offence. A 'Cat 1' offence, ie rolling your eyes, is consequenced by a modest loss of points. A 'Cat 3' offence, eg swearing, costs a significant number, and may drop the student's score beneath their current level's threshold, thus demoting them and removing privileges.

'You know,' offers Kay, 'if people want to talk about the length of the programme, it's up to the child. If a parent wonders why their kid is here so long, well gee, we are doing our part, maybe you need to ask your little Joey why he is not moving forward. Everyone knows how to earn the points.'

The strategy of coercing children to rewire themselves is the concept Kay is most proud of, for he believes it places troubled teenagers' redemption in their own hands. The choice is theirs.

'For years, we just believed if you make the kids do what you want them to do, then they will make the change. But what we figured out was, why not get them to come to the conclusion that they need to make the change themselves? That's what makes this programme special. It's up to them.'

Students who fail to grasp this formula are forcefully encouraged to get the message. One girl currently has to wear a sign around her neck at all times, which reads: 'I've been in this programme for three years, and I am still pulling crap.'

When most children first arrive they find it difficult to believe that they have no alternative but to submit. In shock, frightened and angry, many simply refuse to obey. This is when they discover the alternative. Guards take them (if necessary by force) to a small bare room and make them (again by force if necessary) lie flat on their face, arms by their sides, on the tiled floor. Watched by a guard, they must remain lying face down, forbidden to speak or move a muscle except for 10 minutes every hour, when they may sit up and stretch before resuming the position. Modest meals are brought to them, and at night they sleep on the floor of the corridor outside under electric light and the gaze of a guard. At dawn they resume the position.

This is known officially as being 'in OP' - Observation Placement - and more casually as 'lying on your face'. Any level student can be sent to OP, and it automatically demotes them to level 1 and zero points. Every 24 hours, students in OP are reviewed by staff, and only sincere and unconditional contrition will earn their release. If they are unrepentant? 'Well, they get another 24 hours.'

One boy told me he'd spent six months in OP.

I didn't think this could be true, but it transpired this was not even exceptional. 'Oh no,' says Kay. 'The record is actually held by a female.' On and off, she spent 18 months lying on her face.

'The purpose of observation,' Kay offers, 'is to give the kids a chance to think. Hopefully, it's giving the kids a chance to reflect on the choices they've made.' And indeed it is often in OP that a student decides to stop fighting. In this respect, OP works. In fact, the success rate of OP can be understood as a perfect distillation of Tranquility Bay's ideology. If your son is willfully disrespectful, the most loving gift a parent can give him is incarceration in an environment so intolerable that he will do anything to get out - where 'anything' means surrendering his mind to authority.

'I say to the parents,' says Kay, leaning back in his office seat. 'The bottom line is, what's the end result you want? Getting there may be ugly, but at least with us you're going to get there.'

Jim Mozingo got the result he wanted. Twenty months after sending his son Josh away, he arrived from North Carolina to collect him. Mozingo has four sons, an insurance company, and is a good example of a typical Tranquility parent. Divorced from Josh's mother, busy, wealthy, he found Tranquility by typing 'defiant teen' into the internet.Jim Mozingo got the result he wanted. Twenty months after sending his son Josh away, he arrived from North Carolina to collect him. Mozingo has four sons, an insurance company, and is a good example of a typical Tranquility parent. Divorced from Josh's mother, busy, wealthy, he found Tranquility by typing 'defiant teen' into the internet.

'I tell you, I was at my wits' end with my son. We'd tried military school, but he got kicked out. He never got into trouble with the police. He was one step from that. What it was is, he was going through this identity crisis. Peer pressure. Pot got involved.'

Drugs feature high among reasons for choosing Tranquility, although addicts who need detox are not accepted. Running away from home, sleeping around, or being expelled from school are also typical. Some kids have been in trouble with the police. Others had been in court, where their parents persuaded the judge to let them send their child to Tranquility, rather than issue his own punishment. Other students were sent here for wearing inappropriate clothes, using bad language, or hanging around with the wrong sort of friends.

'He was real disrespectful to his mom,' Mozingo sighs. 'Not to me. Never to Daddy. He lived with his mom until a year-and-a-half before he came here, and I knew the day would come when she would call me and say, "I can't handle it."'

But Mozingo had baby twin sons with his new wife, and Josh was a disruptive addition to the household. 'I knew I had to do something. I didn't want to lose him. I would do anything for him, that's why I sent him here. We tried therapy at home, but you know.' He laughs conspiratorially. 'God love 'em, we've got to have therapists, I guess. But I come from a class where if you've got a problem, well hell, you just work it out. Josh just needed to get his head on straight. And he has.

'Sure, he complained like hell at first,' he recalls fondly. 'Typical case of manipulation, just like they said in the handbook. He said the staff were mean and violent, they beat you, the food is terrible.' He chuckles, pleased by the neat symmetry of the handbook and letters. While he is talking, Josh hovers nearby, with bright eyes that dance longingly on his father's face. It took Josh a whole year to reach level 2, some of it spent in OP, but his father feels only awestruck gratitude for the treatment his son has received.

'Every time I come here I'm just so struck by the love of these people. You can't fake this kind of love. And this place is just full of love. I challenge anyone to come down and take a look.'

These are classic Tranquility-parent feelings. For example, Mozingo believes his son had a serious drug problem before coming to Jamaica and Josh agrees. What was he taking? 'I was doing marijuana. I was doing cigarettes. Alcohol.' He looks disgusted with himself. 'Mostly, though, I stole prescription pills from my grandmother.'

Also striking is the assumption parents make of entitlement to their child's affection, as though this is a legal right. 'She's a neat kid, she really is,' a former student's mother says. 'She just didn't like us.' But now, 'I don't believe she's lying to me any more, and that's a neat feeling.'

Messy divorce and remarriage are the norm among these parents. Their expectations of loyalty from their children, though, suggest a gilt-edged ideal of American family life so brittle any rebellion or defiance is literally terrifying. This culture then creates its own logic - for once adolescence is criminalised, Tranquility becomes the obvious solution.

A clearer picture of this family culture emerges from conversation with a group of levels 5 and 6.

'Oh, my relationship with my family was pretty bad. I just went to my room and avoided my parents. There was always arguments and stuff,' offers Pete. 'I was very angry with my parents, their divorce had a big influence on me. I'm not angry with them now, though. Not at all. I mean, I look at this as a punishment, obviously, but I deserved it. How I acted towards my parents.'

Susie is 16, from New York, and here 'because of having sex. Not going to school. It was my attitude. It wasn't, like, drugs. The problem was, me and my mom, we just didn't have a relationship. We could say how was your day, that was about it.' The possibility that this was a normal phase is adamantly rejected by Susie.

'No, that wasn't normal. I would be doing the same thing all my life. I would never have got out of it.' Her friend Michelle believes, 'I'd be living on the streets now. And I think one of the biggest things I've learnt here is that everything happens for a reason. I came here for a reason. You see, I just wasn't meant to be living the life I was living. I wasn't meant to be homeless.'

So who is meant to be homeless? 'What?' She looks thrown, before putting the question aside. 'If my mom hadn't sent me here I would have died.'

That without Tranquility they would be dead is an article of faith among all the students.

I ask one how they would have died. 'What?'

It soon becomes apparent that despite all having been programmed with the script of their near death, no one has paused to wonder how it would have happened. But if they hadn't been dead, they would have been poor, a destiny they have been taught to consider more or less the same thing. 'Tranquility showed me that I'd have been a minimum wager,' Nick says. 'This place saved my life.'

'I'd probably be living with a drug dealer or something awful like that,' speculates a girl. 'And going nowhere. Not being successful.'

A number of these students are 18 years old and therefore legally free to walk out, but until they graduate the programme their parents are refusing to have them home. Lindsay Cohen is nearly 19. A straight-A high-school graduate, she was heading for Harvard until an unsuitable choice of boyfriend had her sent here at the age of 17. The day she turned 18, Tranquility would be obliged to hand over $50 and the return half of her air ticket if she wanted to leave.

She picks the words of her explanation carefully. 'OK. I'm used to a high-profile lifestyle. I really don't own anything too inexpensive. What I'm accustomed to isn't anything of the sort you can buy for $50. And my parents promised to support me through law school if I stayed. So really, walking isn't worth it. Sometimes,' she murmurs, 'I still think I didn't need to come here...' but stops herself and offers, vaguely, 'But I guess in life things happen.'

The students all describe their pre-programme selves using the same subjective descriptions, such as 'ignorant' or 'disrespectful', as if these were neutral adjectives, like 'brown'. Their delivery, too, is disturbingly similar, for the words come out like empty envelopes, emotionally vacant.

'When I was sent here I was very upset,' Kate tells me. Her voice is careful but dull. 'My parents didn't tell me I was coming here. They tricked me.' She smiles a faraway, inscrutable smile. 'I had to have the police escort me on to the plane.'

How do you feel about it now? 'I think it's great. The fact that I changed my life is great.' And what's your relationship like with them now? 'It's great.' What spark Kate and others have is lit only by Kay and the chaperones, towards whom a faintly flirtatious electricity seems to flicker. These children do not just obey rules. They seem to have been psychologically rewired.

'You have to understand,' a former student, who turned 18 and walked out, tries to explain. 'The staff are constantly trying to work out what you are thinking about and constantly telling you what to think about, and then constantly checking to see if you are thinking about it. And if you're not, and they know you're not, you might as well be dead.'

Every day, each family has a meeting, taken by its 'family representative', the staff member who reports to their parents in a weekly phone call.

Challenger family's meeting is the first I attend, and has the appearance of group therapy. The girls sit in a circle on the floor, with an hour to stand up and 'share', or offer 'feedback'.

The first to her feet is frightened that her old problem of anorexia is returning. 'I feel really disgusting the whole time. I hate it so much because I feel so imperfect. I just feel so insecure, I didn't think this was going to come back, I don't know what to do.' She casts about, anguish bubbling out incoherently. 'Like, if I was to date a guy, and I was always hating myself, well that would push him away. Being alone really scares me a lot, but I know that's how I'm going to end up.' Now she is crying hard, gulping air, talking randomly. 'Like, if I get a Cat 2, I feel like I'm letting everyone down.'

After 10 minutes she sits down. But there is something odd about the atmosphere - hot grief has met ice-cool air. Hands go up for feedback.

'No one else is thinking about you, why do you think anyone notices you?'

'Don't you get it? The purpose of being here, and getting consequences, is to teach you how to pick yourself up. If you don't mess up, you go home.'

I am completely taken aback. As they rattle out their spiteful attacks some sound bored, like waitresses running through a menu, but others are imaginatively vicious. After the next has shared, a girl stands up and points at her victim's acne.

'Why is it that you feel so comfortable wallowing in your own crap? That's why you have that stuff on your face. It's because you're hurting yourself on the inside.' The family rep looks on with approval.

The rep for Renaissance takes a more pro-active role in her meeting. Her senior boys need no help on the feedback front - 'You've got a really bad attitude. I've talked to you about that before. You're lazy. That's all you are, man' - and so on, but she pulls a coup de grÔce towards the end.

A boy stands and clearly thinks just once he is going to come off best. There had been a dispute over his 'exit plan', the arrangement for his imminent return home. He had said he was not going to live with his mother and staff thought he was. His mother had now written to confirm that he was absolutely correct.

'So I just wanted to make sure,' he says, with biting diplomacy, 'that there were no other "misunderstandings" that need to be cleared up.'

His family rep stares hard at him hard, smarting. Defeat seems inescapable. The silence lengthens, and her eyes narrow.

'You know what? I'm going to review your exit plan. It will have to go on hold.'

'Miss! Miss, no!' He is aghast, panic-stricken. 'You can't mean that? Why are you punishing me?'

She studies him. 'I am not punishing you. You just gave me the idea. You have punished yourself.'

Why would students want to stand up and share, or give this kind of feedback? Scott Burkett, a student who left two years ago, explains: 'You can only move forward in the programme if you share intimate details of your life. If you don't share, you're not "working the programme", and they'll take away your points. In a meeting, your rep will suddenly pick on you and say, "Right, I want to hear something private, right now. Come on. Or do you want to go to OP?" And I'm going through this inventory in my head real fast, thinking what will hurt least to say? Because you tell her secrets and then she uses them against you later. Like, say a guy mentions problems with his girlfriend, a month later she'll have him up, and she's saying, "You don't think she's waiting, do you?" She's laughing at you behind your back. "How many of your friends do you think she's sleeping with right now?" So I start telling her something, and she just says, "I'm not listening to that, that's not deep," and she calls for the guard to take me to OP. And I've got until he gets in the room to give her something better, or he's taking me.'

Points and privileges are awarded to students who tell on each other. If you don't tell on someone for breaking a rule and get found out, you lose points. 'There is zero trust,' Scott explains. 'You can't trust anyone. It's not us against them. It's everyone against you.' Scott remembers a new boy being caught with incriminating used tissues; masturbation is strictly forbidden. 'And they got him up in front of everyone right after dinner, and the upper-level kids just ripped into him, this little 13-year-old kid. It was kind of the entertainment for the night. That's what I mean about breaking kids.'

Students also take part in seminars - phenomenally confrontational three-day sessions which are calculated to induce what approaches mass hysteria. Participants must swear a vow of silence, shrouding what takes place in secrecy. Many credit these emotionally intense encounters with transforming their lives, whereas others describe them as brutal manipulation.

Parents cannot visit their child at Tranquility until they, too, have attended a seminar in the States. They attend further seminars together with their child and many consider this to be the programme's most valuable attribute. 'Awesome,' marvels Jim Mozingo, 'mind-blowing.' But this dual approach ensures that the only people outside Tranquility with whom students are allowed contact become insiders, too, co-opted into Tranquility's special language and belief system. And parents have a financial incentive to believe and proselytise. For every new customer they can recruit, a month's fees for their own child are waived.

What Wwasp has created is a perfectly watertight world in which all criticism is, by definition, discredited. From former students, it merely proves they are still dealing in 'manipulations'. If parents are unhappy, the 'poor results' they got only indicate that they failed to support the programme. Staff are bound by a confidentiality clause, and any who leave and speak out are cast as 'disgruntled former employees' with personal axes to grind.

Only one potential gap exists. A licensed psychologist must perform an evaluation of every arrival. He also offers students optional one-on-one and group therapy, and is paid directly by parents. He is not employed by Tranquility because, as he stresses, 'I need to be independent. I represent the kid and the family. That's very important.'

Dr Marcel Chappuis was a juvenile court psychologist in Utah for 30 years, and has a PhD in clinical psychology. His manner, however, is more man-in-pub than medical, suggestive of both impatience and amusement at the teenagers' problems. He looks like Tom Selleck, and on his desk is one book, 'a national bestseller' called Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.

'One of the groups I do here, it's called Rape And Molest. They struggle with a lot of guilt in that group. You know, a lot of these girls dress and act provocative. They get involved in substance abuse. They place themselves at risk and then they get taken advantage of. Now, we always say no means no. We're real clear about that. But then we say, you know, you've got to look at how you market yourself. Girls can be hard work to help,' he chuckles. 'They are so much more dramatic than boys!'

He also sees 30 adopted children - a remarkable ratio out of 250 students. Without irony, he tells me that adopted kids 'have more issues with trust. You know, attachment and abandonment. These are the programme's most difficult students. But they have to get ownership of the fact they were part of the problem, the reason why they were sent away.'

Dr Chappuis thoroughly enjoys working at Tranquility, and it shows. 'It's a lot of fun! I love it. Just the satisfaction of seeing these kids change.' Here for two weeks a month, he visits other Wwasp facilities during the other fortnight. Wwasp must therefore account for most of his earnings. If parents want therapy for their child, they have no choice but to employ him, ensuring that the lone chance of an outside voice has successfully been eliminated. How Dr Chappuis can be described as independent is thus something of a mystery.

His good cheer only falters on the subject of criticism, at which point his great height and moustache become distinctly aggressive.

'People who say this place is too harsh, they've never had their own troubled kids. If you criticise it you don't know what the hell you are talking about. And if you think you have had experience, then I challenge the success of your experience.

I see 100 kids across this facility. I've got experience, and I will go nose to nose to you if you want to talk about it. I will go head to head with anyone. You get all kinds of people whining and complaining. They don't know what they are talking about.'

And the truth is that I do not have my own troubled kid. He is right. I have no idea what it is like to be the parent of a teenager taking drugs, running away, sleeping around, breaking the law. I cannot imagine what it feels like to fear for my child's life.

Tranquility parents say they know. They believe the programme is necessary and are usually very happy with the results, and who else is in a position to judge?

The US legal system has more or less agreed that they are right. In a crucial 1998 test case, a Californian court ruled that a parent had the legal right to send a child to Tranquility. Parental choice was sacrosanct.

What happens inside Tranquility would be illegal on British soil, but the facility falls under Jamaican jurisdiction and parents here are as free as Americans to send their children where they like. A spokesman for the Children's Legal Centre in the UK confirmed, 'I can't see anything in the law that would stop a British parent from sending their child there. It is appalling, but it is down to the Jamaican government.'

And what incentive have the island's authorities to intervene? National attitudes to child care are not famously progressive, Jamaican children aren't involved and Tranquility is a major employer generating tax revenue. It's easy to see why Wwasp locates facilities abroad in developing countries.

Four overseas Wwasp facilities have been closed down by local authorities in the past seven years. The latest occurred just last month, in Costa Rica, following claims of physical abuse and squalor by an ex-manager. But providing Tranquility meets Jamaican sanitation standards, it remains untroubled by government attention.

Emotional abuse is a more nebulous matter. Internet message boards are busy with former students chronicling the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. One writes, 'At least once out of every three nights I wake up sweating and almost in tears from nightmares of being returned to Tranquility Bay. To this day, I am afraid that somehow I would have to return.' But most students are already emotionally damaged when they arrive, with a quarter on medication for bi-polar, oppositional defiance, or attention-deficit disorders.

'Show me one kid that they can prove has ever been psychologically damaged in my programme,' demands Kay. 'To have a clinician say yes, it was as a result of this? I would find that highly suspicious.' And his confidence is probably justified.

There is very little that any opponent of Tranquility can do to prevent it continuing to do business. I don't doubt the sincerity of Kay's belief that far from damaging children's lives he is saving them. 'If I have kids, and they start giving me a problem, well they are going straight in the programme. If I had to, I'd pull the trigger without hesitation.' And Tranquility parents undoubtedly believe they are doing the best for their children.

Once a year, Tranquility Bay has a Fun Day. There are sports and special food; girls can braid their hair; staff are smiling. And there is music. Ceaseless, bass-heavy, deafening music. It sends the teenagers out of their minds. They can't stop dancing. Everywhere, students are dancing, demented with fever, as if a switch has been thrown and a surge of energy unleashed through the grounds.

I meet a student's aunt visiting from Texas. 'Oh, you would not believe the change in her! It's amazing, the way they change a kid's life. She's so polite now, I wouldn't know her. They all look so happy!'

A song by Usher is playing, and the words burn through the hard Caribbean heat. 'You remind me of a girl that I once knew. See her face whenever I look at you.' The Texan's niece pauses her dancing. As she stoops to take a drink of water, I catch her face, and think she looks like the saddest girl in the world.


In my opinion, people like Jay Kay are the reason God created Hell.

Reader's comments on this article

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from JP200
Saturday, January 19, 2008 - 14:57

This place sounds like a real shithole..the government needs to send a police team in there, rescue all those poor kids, and shut the place down. There are regular places to send deliquent kids to without totally mind fucking them and keeping them as an "indefinite" prisoner.
(reply to this comment)
from Classygirl
Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 12:38


So how can we shut them down? I saw their website, and saw the phone numbers and all, but don't know what to do.

If anyone has any ideas, please tell me. I am trying to help expose cults and places like the one in this article.
(reply to this comment)

From afflick
Saturday, October 29, 2005, 16:40

(Agree/Disagree?) to this comment
From ESJ
Saturday, October 29, 2005, 15:20


Knowing what terrible harm the Victor's and Teen Training programs did to TF kids, this is shocking, heart rending and frightening that the US government could possibly allow (even non 'cult brainwashed') parents to do this legally to their children! TF got away with it by using false names, moving constantly, and being secretive, deceptive and flying 'under the radar' of government scrutiny; as well as by brainwashing the kids to defend TF by lying to the authorites when questioned. But these people are doing it relatively openly!!! WT..?

Its occurs to me that perhaps one way of helping the teens in these centres, - and continueing the fight for justice for TF SG's (both ex and current) - would be to alert organizations like Amnesty International and every other human rights and children's rights advocacy around the globe. The above article and some of the stories and media interviews by TF ex SG's could be emailed to them requesting that they be investigated further and something done. These orgs may have the muscle to take action and to lobby govt authorities to do more.(reply to this comment

from lc
Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 23:32

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I have been following news stories about Tranquility Bay and its ilk for a while. They always make my blood boil, but as the author of this article noted, people aren't usually allowed in to observe. Thus, the pieces I have read are based on kids who left and parents who (a) feel harmed or (b) feel their life was saved.

This article got my heart rate up considerably faster because an outsider is reporting what daily life is like there, something nobody ever was able to do at a Victor Camp or in non-Media Homes of TF. Although I ran away from TF before making it to a Victor camp, which was being held over my head, elements of Tranquility Bay were part of my daily life as teen in the Family and/or of the TTC I attended.

My theory about Kay, Karen Zerby, Kelly (there's a KKK for you) and their type getting their comeuppance is that these kids will be kind of like us. Once they are out and making lives for themselves, they get stonger. They will get perspective and the ones that feel they were abused will eventually marshall and become able to do something. Things will be figured out, obstacles conquered.

I still believe we will write the end of our own story. In our case, the ending that TF has drafted will be superseded and then forgotten.

We are not going away. Tranquility Bay kids are not going away. Not all of us, at any rate.

The Kays and Teen Shepherds of this world make the mistake of feeling safe based on today. But if they stick around for tomorrow, like we are sticking around, they will realize they were not as smart as they are now convinced they are.

Time wounds all heels.

About obstacles, the writer says "The US legal system has more or less agreed that they are right. In a crucial 1998 test case, a Californian court ruled that a parent had the legal right to send a child to Tranquility. Parental choice was sacrosanct."

This guy probably does not have too much American legal training, but a parent having the right to send a kid there in no way equates to an accross-the-board get out of jail safe card. I wish he'd given more data about the case. Yes, parental choice is pretty sacrosanct in the U.S., but I'd like to see how a suit turns out where the parents right to that choice is not the main question.

Besides, as this Brit does not seem to realize, California is just one of fifty states in the U.S., not "the U.S. legal system." If the case was in a high state court, it's 1/50, less in a lower state court. Even if it was in a federal court, there are other federal courts and they have been known to be in disagreement with each other or the Supreme Court (which incidentally likes to overturn the 9th Circuit where California is). Plus a variety of approaches exist. The suit this guy is mentioning is just one case. Survivors of TF and TB type places, we have a way of becoming resourceful.

Like TF leaders, Kay is living off blood money. Its all about money, with some belief and conviction thrown in for good measure.

Above all, time, time, time.


(reply to this comment)

From Tim R
Friday, July 04, 2003, 00:13

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
"Time wounds all heels"

LOL, I like that quote. I certainly hope so. Jay Kay is the son of the founder of that unholy mess, Ken Kay is the founder and president. (Let's see, the son of the founder of a group sets up a ranch in a foreign country to retrain delinquents. Where have we heard THAT before?)

You can e-mail him at:

I already sent him an e-mail "sharing" my feelings on this issue, it was probably pointless, but it sure made me feel better. The funny thing is, it was their own newsletter that really raised my hackles. The testimonies from those poor kids sound JUST like OHR's.áNot to mention theádance nights! (reply to this comment
From Miami Herald Article
Friday, July 04, 2003, 00:27

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(

Posted on Fri, May. 23, 2003

Rioting, escapes put teen facility under scrutiny

Special to The Herald

OROTINA, Costa Rica - A team of government psychologists, social workers and lawyers swooped into a private American-run academy for troubled teens Thursday, following a day of rioting and the escape of some three dozen American teenagers from the remote facility.

The behavior-modification institution, which has been the target of international criticism for extreme punishment practices, has been warned by Costa Rican authorities that it has 30 days to reform its ''tough-love'' tactics, or risk being closed by court order.

Costa Rican authorities started looking into the academy earlier this year, following a series of reports by the local press. A criminal complaint filed by the government on Monday came after a four-month investigation that found evidence of mistreatment, overpopulation and unsanitary conditions.

Since opening in October 2001, the newest affiliate of the Utah-based WorldWide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) has been the target of condemnation from parents, former ''students'' and ex-staff.

Critics worry that a so-called ''High Impact'' compound being established at the facility is a replica of another by the same name that was closed by Mexican authorities in 2001 for rights abuses. In recent years, WWASP also has closed or been forced to close similar facilities in Utah and the Czech Republic.

Opponents claim the academy's extreme punishment practices, including physical restraints and solitary confinement for days on end, border on human-rights abuse.

''In our opinion, Dundee Ranch Academy is the site of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment against children who are being held there illegally and against their will,'' Bruce Harris, director of Casa Alianza, a regional child-advocacy group, wrote this week to the U.N. Committee Against Torture seeking intervention.

The academy has been given a month to make 15 critical changes to its policies and procedures. The most pertinent: obtaining a license and complying with immigration regulations for some of the employees and students.

Chris Goodwin, of California, led the charge to close High Impact in Mexico after his son was transferred there from another WWASP program in 2001. He claims his son was locked in a dog cage for a week at a time, hog-tied in the sun for three days, had his teeth knocked through his lips by a staffer who smashed his face repeatedly into the ground and was forced to walk around the compound's perimeter track wearing flannel underwear and a sweat suit.


AT least 35 of the nearly 200 mostly American teenagers enlisted at the Costa Rican academy fled the institution Tuesday during a visit by investigators, child welfare workers and public health officials who were responding to the criminal complaint filed by the government's Child Welfare Office, known by the Spanish acronym PANI.

But the government's attempt at intervention spiraled out of control when prosecutor Fernando Vargas told the youths they did not have to remain at the academy against their will.


Many of the students began to revolt and vandalize the facility, and as many as 35 teens escaped onto the streets.

''The situation got chaotic and crazy and out of control,'' said a 15-year-old Miami native who was sent to Dundee seven months ago for drug addiction and gang involvement.

''After living with all those rules, now you have people saying you can do whatever you want,'' said Johel, whose last name is not published because he is a minor. ``Kids started arming themselves with sticks and acting violent against the upper-level students who were allowed to discipline them.''

Dundee owner Narvin Lichfield of Utah said the prosecutor's announcement also sparked violent aggression against some of the staff. The kids ran amok, beating staff members' cars with sticks, vandalizing property, stealing from each other and having sex in the bathrooms, he charged Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy reported on Wednesday that all of the Dundee students were accounted for, including six teens who requested to be relocated to state-run shelters, but owner Lichfield said Thursday that three or four students were still missing.

Some 25 teens were still causing havoc Thursday at the 40-acre campus and were being locked down in the academy's recently constructed ''High Impact'' walled compound, Lichfield said. The academy, west of the capital city of San Jose, is accessible by dirt road and surrounded only by cattle farms.

Perhaps the biggest fear of Dundee students, according to numerous testimonies, is being sentenced to Observational Placement, known as O.P.

'If you were caught looking out the window of the classroom, you were given a `CAT 4' [Category 4 offense] because they thought you were [plotting] a run plan,'' said 17-year-old Garred Bock, who was busted out of Dundee last October by his mother, Carey Bock, who discovered her ex-husband had sent her twin boys to Costa Rica.

According to Bock, a ''CAT 4'' or ''CAT 5'' offense earns students four or five days of O.P. in solitary confinement, where they are forced to stand, kneel or lie facing the wall for as long as 12 hours a day.

(reply to this comment
From Tim R
Friday, July 04, 2003, 02:18

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Check this link out. It's a copy of the legal form the parents have to fill out.

BTW Lucid, I know that the parents can sign away the right to sue, but don't the teens themselves still retain their rights regardless? Especially if it was done under duress?

I was extremely bothered by the part that says:

"...The Sponsors therefore agree to hold harmless and release the School from all liability or damages for any actions of the School's staff or employees that are outside the scope of their constituted responsibilities or realm of their employment. This includes, but is not limited to, any inappropriate or unauthorized interaction between staff and students, as well as any type of illegal or criminal acts..." (from page 6)

Would this actually hold up in court?(reply to this comment

From PompousJohn
Friday, July 04, 2003, 08:20


As I understand it, Costa Rica is one of few countries in the world with no laws against child pornography, and is also major sex tourism destination for people who's tastes lean towards things that may be illegal in other countries.

Kinda freaky that anyone would set up a correctional facility for young people there.(reply to this comment

From Mir
Monday, July 14, 2003, 08:05


Sorry Pomp, you're probably thinking of another country because CR is VERY strict on child pornography. El Patronato Nacional de la Infancia was set up by my grandfather to protect children and they do, to the best of their ability. When my sister was over there she worked as a secretary in a sales office and this one gringo got arrested right in front of everyone in the office for possesing child pornography. I know of another guy (an old school friend of my dad's) who is rotting in jail for filming and taking photos of children being abused in CR. Prostitution, however, is legal in CR thanks to my grandfather also, (bad move IMO) but the person has to be over 18.(reply to this comment

From PompousJohn
Monday, July 14, 2003, 11:39


I will look it up again, but I was doing a study on this topic for my sociology class, and sex tourisnm and it's impact on latin countries was one of the things the professor couldn't stop harping on.

I concur that PRODUCING child pornography is illegal there, but posessing it is not strictly illegal. I'm sure that like in most latin countries you can go to jail for pissing the wrong person off, so I bet there are people in jail for posessing child pornography in Costa Rica, but the following article and others like it are what I based my comment on.


An American male was arrested yesterday morning in Costa Rica accused of the corruption of minors; providing drugs to a minor; for paying for sex with a minor and for the production and distribution of child pornography. The Special Prosecutor on Sex Crimes detained the 38 year old, with the last name of Cochran, after a two-year investigation and several complaints provided by Casa Alianza, a private agency that provides services to homeless children in Mexico and Central America.

Casa Alianza made the first complaint to the Special Prosecutor in March 2001 after having received information from the neighbors of the now detained when he lived in the "Barrio Dent" suburb of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, a principal tourist destination in Central America. Neighbors who complained to the American about the fact he was bringing very young boys to his apartment all the time were threatened with violence if they made a complaint. A second complaint with more information was provided by the agency in September 2001.

The now accused fled his rented apartment and moved to Rhomoser, a suburban area with a high level of foreign residents, on the opposite side of San Jose, where he was arrested yesterday. The police authorities recovered more than 1,000 photographs with a high content of child pornography, plus child pornography magazines amongst other pornographic material. The authorities also confiscated Cochran's computer to analyze the content of the hard disk.

The Special Prosecutor also raided the accused's office in Sabana Sur where they found even more child pornography. Possession of child pornography is not typified as a crime in Costa Rica, leading child rights advocates calling for reforms in the criminal code.
Cochran was also being sought by INTERPOL for crimes he had committed against children in the United States. A Costa Rican judge ordered yesterday that he be held without bail for six months.

"Casa Alianza and other organizations called for the possession of child pornography to be criminalized some three years ago", explained Bruce Harris, the Regional Director of Casa Alianza for Latin America. "The change in the law was blocked under misguided arguments by former Congressman Otto Guevara, who argued for the freedom of _expression for individuals to have child porn. But he was ignoring the rights of the child victims whose images appear in the material".

Casa Alianza has more than 250 complaints with the Special Prosecutor on Sex Crimes, whose office has only seven investigators assigned to both sex crimes and intra-family violence in this country of four million people.

Over the past five years Costa Rica has become internationally renowned as a location for sex tourism involving children in Latin America. In contrast to the previous government of Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the current administration of Abel Pacheco has recognized the sexual exploitation of children as a major concern for the country. Pacheco announced this week that he has presented changes in the criminal code to the special session of Congress to outlaw the possession of child pornography.

For more information, please contact Bruce Harris in Costa Rica at +506-253-5439.

(reply to this comment
From Mir
Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 15:07


Bloody hell! I didn't know that possesing child pornography was illegal in CR! However, I did know that sexual exploitation of children in CR is a problem, just like it is in any poor country. I'm glad Abel Pacheco is doing what he can to sort it out. Funnily enough, he happens to be my dad's cousin. I wonder if this guy is the same guy my sister was working with? He lived in Rhomoser also.

(reply to this comment

From Mir
Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 15:10

sorry, I meant to say "was not illegal" And BTW, that Otto idiot is probably a pervert himself...(reply to this comment
From Tim R
Friday, July 04, 2003, 16:19

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I agree, the fact that they have to be located overseas should raise a red flag right of the bat. Correctional facilities for delinquent teens may be neccesary, but there needs to be checks and balances.

Their facility in Jamaica, for example will hire Jamaicans, but will not accept Jamaican kids as "guests". Just foreigners. They're obviously too afraid even of the Jamaican Child welfare services.

Do you know anyone in the Caribbean area who makes millstones? (reply to this comment
From Kenzie118
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 00:49


I am a program Grad of WWASP. I am not on here to prove you wrong so please I am just stating my views. We are not brainwashed. I am still a dynamic young woman with many things that I feel strongly about, Some in alignment with the program, some not. I have read many of the news stuff on the program lately and see that it is very biased. Is all of it false, no of course not, however, much of it seems to me to be overdone. In saying that we can't describe what we would have died from (ie pre program and saying the program saved our lives) I can describe easily what I would have died from. Two things come to mind. Being caught in Crossfire between gangs, and being beaten so badly by my abusive ex boyfriend that I would have sustained serious and possibly life threatening injuries. Now three years later I am happily engaged to a wonderful and respectful young man, assisting other young women in making the choice to get clean or out of abusive relationships, and living the life that I know God intends for me. No institution is perfect and WWASP doesn't claim to be, they do a marvelous job working with troubled teens. I know that sounds corny or whatever but hey, its the truth. Anyways, just my perspective.

Much love,

Kenzie(reply to this comment

From JP200
Saturday, January 19, 2008, 15:25


All this means is that you finally cracked under the pressure and swallowed everything that was forced down your throat. I was also an "attendant" of the same institution as Mikio and I know that there are a few who really took their punishment, and convinced themselves that they were changed. Those people went on to be some of the worst, most self-righteous bigots ever, they sucked up to the "powers that be" and landed themselves a "Teen Shepherd" or "VS" posistion and then traveled around to the other homes enforcing their rules and views and punishments on the other young people and made everyone else's life a living hell. Similar to the way those "Cat 4, 5, 6" kids are allowed to punish the newcomers. Not saying that this is you because obviously I don't know you but I'm gonna take a guess that you were one of those type and theirs probably a couple of WWASP grads that remember you dishing out punishments to them and hate you for it!(reply to this comment

From Tim R
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 15:29

Why is the program located overseas?

Why don't they accept "clients" from the countries they work in?


This attitude that you graduates have is all the same: "I would be dead if it wasn't for the program, caught in a crossfire between gangs, blah, blah. Thank God for the program" If anyone wants to see what I'm talking about, go to and look at "The Source", they all sound just like "Kenzie", with the same brainwashed "I finally learned to love Big Brother" attitude.

This might work if it hadn't been for the fact that we grew up in programs that were so similar. The first rule is: In order to graduate from the program, you have to accept that you needed it. You also have to turn on your fellow inmates, help brainwash them and then spout a bunch of nonsense about how it "turned your life around".

Believe me, I've been there. I went through the "RA" program in Japan, Mark's hell on earth in Mexico, and then I still turned around and defended them against justice when it came looking for them.

Why don't you let a few years go by, and then see how you feel about it?(reply to this comment
From mikio
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 03:52

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Kenzie, it's nice to hear from a participant, I was in victor programs, isolation, "intensive care" programs consisting of work and paddling for any infractions including talking, for a couple years in Asia, many here were in for 5 or 6 years, the account given sounds chillingly similar to our program, I guess U all didn't get paddled in public when U got 6 demerits, but then again, I doubt the writer would've seen it if it did happen. Getting put in restraint sounds alot worse though.

I will tell U something about myself, I am a paper success, a good citizen, smart on paper, high GPA even though barely had any schooling in the program, about to graduate a #1 US News-ranked private college w/ 2 degrees and no debt because of almost $100K in scholarships -- I had a plan and worked hard at it, hardest part was working through feelings of self-doubt and inferiority which for some weird reason werent there before I went into the program. I should brag, but I have to admit I wake up at night shaking from dreams of being back in, I've taken martial arts for a number of years now, and I keep a loaded handgun close by whenever I am not on campus to feel secure were someone to drag me back in; this next comment may sound like I'm a phsyco, but sometimes I remember it and the calming thing to me is to get that soft, black Berretta out, hold it tight, feel its reassurance, and go through what I would've done had I had that soothing piece of metal on me when a couple "shepherds" led me down to a sealed up room where sound couldn't get out -- I cycle the action and seat a live round -- I wouldn't kill them, that's too easy, but if I were 14 again and had that gun, they would have the entire 15 rounds in the clip inside them and would never walk, have sex, and be in alot of physical pain the rest of their lives -- and I would've saved alot of kids like myself. Maybe I come across violent, but I'm a very pacifistic type of person, thought martial arts would change that but it didn't. Through college, helping other kids in counselling programs, assistant teaching kids in martial arts, I still years later am trying to resolve these issues, I fundamentally do not believe in the use of violence or force to push one's way, but I would consider it to be self-defense.

I dont know how to say this cuz I dont know what I would've listened to when I was so thankful the Lord had saved me, I tirelessly defended my upbringing and would've done anything to save it, even lied about it (I am in no way implying that U would, just me), I really believed I had to make the change permanent or the Lord would show the Shepherds that I was not sincere, I prayed for God to help me love correction and desire it cuz I knew it was the only way I could become anything, and I tried to believe it and then I sincerely did. we had govt immigration officials come to pre-arranged mtgs and be very impressed and think our group was the greatest in the world. We were prepped and went through hours learning what answers to give to the outside social workers who 'arent one of us and wouldn't understand our choices', we were just as eager to hide stuff as those who ran the program becuz it was 'our' lifestyle that was under attack and we didn't know much else, afraid our parents wouldn't take us back and we'd on our own and God would judge us severely for what we did -- fear of the unknown can cause U to do whatever it takes to stay.

Kenzie, the programs aren't going on anymore, there were a series of child abuse court cases around the world involving The Family, including one in the UK that ruled the treatment in victor programs as child abuse and illegal -- practices identical to Wwasp, I know U do believe that it helped U, and I went from an 11 yr old w/ problems to a nice adjusted teen when I got out at 16, but none of the resulting emotional problems surface for quite awhile because we learn to surpress all that so we can graduate, anything to graduate, and we subconsciously keep surpressing the new problems these programs have created for a couple more years, but not forever. This is not just refering to getting paddled for "a general bad attitude" or rolling yr eyes or "defiantly" spacing out during a bible class, purple welts heal, but the psycological trauma in my opinion is much worse, it stays with U a long time after. Our parents and the shepherds truly believed they were doing the right thing, I believed it was what I needed and if I listened to the Devil and questioned it at all, I would fall right back and lose all my progress. I dont know what else to say, U sound like me the first 3 yrs out. U may always feel that it was very good for U, but others who went through it dont (do a Google search if U dont believe me). Based on our experiences, they are not disgruntled losers who need an excuse for th(reply to this comment

From mikio
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 07:33

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Just finished reading this message board of many former Wwasp inmates, after all this, I really dont believe Kenzie was an inmate, probably just one of the minimum-wage Wwasp staff who wants the parent's $30K a year they pay to have their kids abused. Sorry Kenzie, like I said, I know the type. Here's the link, should be enough emails if people have questions, personally, I'd be ready to go after them. to this comment

From Tim R
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 15:51


Right on, here's another good link about them:

I'm a bit confused though, this "Cross Creek" program is located in Utah, and seems to be on the level. They offer education, for one thing, while the program from the article above only used correspondence courses. I assume they're open to CPS and law enforcement as well.

I called their number (1-800-818-6228) and they told me they had nothing to do with wwasp. But on the wwasp web site it lists them and their same number under "enrollment info".

I think they may be using this as a "cover course" to provide a veneer of professionalism to their overseas brainwashing centers. The above article is specifically about their foreign programs. Sorry if I assumed this was the same for you, but you really should have mentioned that you hadn't been to the facilities we were talking about. (reply to this comment

From Kenzie118
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 13:25


I am sorry that you don't see how anyone could have a good experience there, maybe I am one of the minority and also seeing as how I am underage I can't work at the program. And yes the staff do get paid low wages. Some staff are great, some not so great. I was not abused at Cross Creek and have gone back to visit and loved it. And mikio, I am sure you know the type, especially when you are completely absorbed in proving yourself right. I have gotten many emails from grads or former "inmates" wanting me to join their anti-program groups, its just not my thing. Anyways I am sorry that the only way you can be right is to discredit another person's experience.


Kenzie(reply to this comment

From mikio
Sunday, July 13, 2003, 19:22

Kenzie, I think I need to apologise, I attacked U personally without any reason and I'm sorry. I had just gotten through reading the postings on the bulletin board I posted the link to, and it got alot of emotions going, emotions I thought were gone -- stuff is bothering me and not actually what happened to me, but more what happened to others that I stood by and accepted. Granted I would've been placed in solitary &/or paddled for speaking out, but I still see long-term negative effects of stuff that happened to girls I know who came out of it and wish I had done something, anything to stop it. I dont know about Cross Creek, but the stories about Tranquility Bay made my blood boil, but if U say CC was good, I'll take that; I do want to listen to other's views, even if emotions are strong. Mikio(reply to this comment

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