I went to one of these fucking places. And it was before they started making them to appeal to religious/political extremes. These things have existed for a long time, and they have their brainwashing techniques down pat.
My parents sent me to one of these places in the early 2000’s because I was suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks. What went on there was basically a concentration camp. You may wonder why the hell would your parents send you there? That is because they rely on a referral system. People who know your parents will refer them to the school, and by doing so they get a free month/3k. That gives them all the incentive to paint the place in a perspective that is complete and utter bullshit.
Edit 2*Due to many questions on the parents’ feelings of guilt/responsibility in the matter I am adding this.
I mention brainwashing on number 10, but I failed to mention that the parents are brainwashed as well. The way this works is that there is a level system. The first 3 levels don’t require your parents to be brainwashed, but to move up to level 4 to level 7, you need your parents to participate in these special brainwashing seminars. This means that even if your parents were misguided to send you there in the first place. The moment you show you are doing well, the schools latch onto the weakness of your parent’s hopes, and brain wash them as well. This makes them great zombies to refer other parents into these schools. It also encourages parents to have the child complete the “program” which is an additional 1-2 years, which means roughly 30-70k more tuition for the schools. Ouch.
I am going to make a list now.
1) They get paid 300-500 dollars to kidnap you. Your parents elect to have this option or to send you there willingly. They don’t tell you about them, they appear at night. Tell you to get dressed. And you drive off into the sunset. You have no fucking idea what is going on until you get there.
2) The pictures/activities are bullshit. They have those recreational areas, but they are never used because it poses a greater run risk. People do run away. Most that do never succeed. Those that fail are punished by being sent to Jamaica.
3) Jamaica is the threat and boogeyman for anyone that is acting up or may act up. They have complete control over communications with your parents. They can fuck your shit up anytime they want, even for malicious purposes. The threat is that they can do whatever they want to you in Jamaica. This generally consists of beating your ass senseless, then starving you in the hot sun. Yeah, that does happen.
4) Communication is completely restricted and censored with your parents. You are allowed to write letters but they read through everything that comes in and out. They will selectively remove any letters that have your parents saying they will let you out without completing the program. This means the entire time you are there you cannot tell your parents they are beating your ass, putting you in an isolation room, nor any fears that you are being abandoned. I kept all of my letters as records. I showed them to my parents after I got out. A lot of them were missing, especially the ones about leaving the place.
5) “Why don’t you riot?” Riots do happen, but this occurs only in complete abandoning of going home. The places are locked down with magnetic bolted doors and no one is breaking them. On that note, I did have the privileged of seeing a 250 lb kid smash one of these doors, but that guy was an inhuman beast that ran faster than most of the athletic kids there. Oh, and the place I went to did riot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_at_Ivy_Ridge
6) Supplies. No one mentioned supplies and basic needs. Everything you are supplied with is generic brand crap, but they force your parents to pay a massive premium (more expensive than premium brands)for it. They will also set stupid restrictions on the products so that people don’t “abuse” them or rather so they have a better bottom line.
7) Parents are allowed to send a care package at the place I went to, and other places I’ve heard of. They stole from your care package. I had stuff from mine stolen. They do this explicitly to demoralize you. If they know what you are looking forward to, they will take it and keep it themselves. How do I know? In the program, you go up the levels and have more freedom. The level basically mean you work as staff for the school while your parents pay them. These leveled up kids see what is going on and convey it to the lower levels. There is fucking nothing you can do about it too. They censor all communication. What are you going to do? Complain to your parents? That just means it worked. “Gotcha, bitch.”
8) Punishment. They hire crazy overweight staff (200-300lbs)that generally have a military background. They sit on you, put you in locks, and generally swing your head into the walls and door frames. You get sent into a detention room/hall. You sit there and do nothing. There have been people who sit in these rooms/halls for months/years. Remember, it cost 3k a month. Not only that, but there is sensory deprivation room for severe offenders. You get to sit there in the dark in a kneeling pose and head against the wall.
9) I’ve seen kids get sent to these place and break down. A lot of these kids were sent there under stupid pretenses. But nothing in regular life prepares you to be completely stripped of your security of returning home (censored communication) and your ability to stop abuse. You can’t do anything. You completely lack control.
10) The brainwashing program. I didn’t even get to the brain washing program. They have this program where they hire specialists, make you sleep deprived, make you write tons of crap about how fucked up you are and what you want to become. Then they force you do these socially awkward interactions to stress you out. Then do guided meditation. You are allowed to talk freely. You eat some junk food. This stuff is gold after being in there for so long. Then they brain wash your ass to complete the program. You hit the ground with a towel to let out all your anger. They teach you retarded junk psychology. Man, fuck that shit.
There is plenty of more shit, but I am tired now.
11) Fighting back. Some of the teens do resist. But this never ends wells. The staff all have walkie talkies and are usually a shout distance away from one another. In the event there is violent resistance, you will get bum rushed by three-five 200-300 lb men that will wrestle you down and sit on each of your limbs. You learn fast either from experience or observation that you don’t use violence. The best course of action I’ve seen to the bumrush was going completely limp, it makes it hard to move you around or do anything to you. It also frustrates the hell out of them.
12) Suicide. People attempt suicide, and this just makes you get put on suicide watch. They remove your belt, and anything around that could be used as a weapon to cut yourself. Everyone uses plastic sporks already so there is no possibilities of someone taking a metal utensil and using it as a weapon.
13) Juvie kids. These places were originally designed for people from juvie. The messed up thing is that after a while, the referrer system had a snowball effect into the general population. This means that the schools are known to reform hard case of kids in the beginning, but later as the general populations gets taken it, it makes it hard to make a case to others that you aren’t an asshole teen. Some of the kids there were messed up, but with the diffusion with the general population, you got a lot of kids that just … no one deserves to be there.
14) Buddy system. People are assigned a buddy system. And the buddy is partly responsible for your actions. The buddy is usually someone with a higher ranking and privileges. This means they have much to lose, where as a new entry has nothing to lose. They will also separate friends from ever being a buddy. They also rotate buddies on a regular weekly-biweekly basis.
15) Sleep arrangements and being guarded. You sleep in 2-4 people rooms with your buddy. There is staff that are hired just to be awake at night to monitor you. If you exit your room without permission you are considered a flight risk and get bum rushed. If you need to use the bathroom, you must request it by putting your hand outside the door + waking up your buddy + waiting any existing queue. Some people just piss in a water bottle or out the protected windows.
16) Staff and fellow students outside of school. The staff use aliases. This is to prevent retribution outside of the school. It is hard to communicate with fellow students because all you know is their name and some general information. By the time you get out, you don’t know where they have gone, or if they are even still alive. I’ve contacted a few of them, but can’t find most of them.
17) Staff pay. The staff were paid minimum wage and with overtime. Most of the staff were not highly educated and were ex military. This meant they were stressed, ill prepared, and just motivated to get the quickest results possible. The kidnapping job paid very well and was lucrative to them.
Personal note. I got lucky in that I avoided pissing off the staff as much as possible, but some still harassed me just for fun. I also was on good terms with a couple of them, which allowed me to avoid the full blown shit storm of being psychologically tortured and losing my “rank/level” because some of them just wanted to fuck with me so I would crack.