Aspen Ranch

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Aspen Ranch is a behavior modification facility located near Loa, Utah.

It was established in 1995 and is a part of Aspen Education Group.

The detainees are a mix of children placed and paid for by their parents and detainees court-ordered to serve their time at the facility. There are about 80 detainees at the facility.

An average stay takes 11 months, but parents are advised not to talk about the length of the stay to prevent the child from knowing his or her release date[1].

Program description

Most of the detainees arrive by use of a Youth transport firm, but some arrive with their parents.

Level system

The ranch use a system, which consist of six levels. New detainees arrive at the lowest level known as round-up or orientation phase. The detainees has to remain silent in a basement or do manual labor during the demanded stay (2 weeks) on that phase.

They can apply for the next level at the end of the 2 weeks. If they are allowed to go on the next level, they leave the basement and goes on to live with group at the dormitory.

Higher levels has names like: Mustang, Maverick, Greenhorn, Rider and wrangler.

Communication between child and parents are letters-only at the lower levels. However, as the child moves up through the levels monitored phone-calls will be allowed. In the contract between parents and the facility, the parents give permission to open all mails going from and to the child, cut off phone calls and strip-search the child [2].

Detainees has to stay at given level for at unknown length of time. The reason given for that is that the detainee has to demonstrate that the student is really ready for the challenges of that level [3] [4].

Punishments

Punishments used are hard labor and isolation from other detainees in a place called Redirection and recovery (R & R) - a place where the detainee are under direct supervision. The detainee will also wear an orange jumpsuit during the stay in R & R.

In order to leave redirection and recovery, the detainee must:

  • Take ownership for the behavior / Develop accountability
  • Create changes / solutions to avoid the problem in the future
  • Demonstrate ability to handle self, emotions, and behavior appropriately
  • Create opportunities to make amends and take steps to correct the situation that got them sent to R&R
  • Maintain regular communication with the therapist and treatment team
  • Get the detainee stabilized to a state where they are no longer a threat to self or others
  • One of the issues which can send a detainee to R&R is self-harm. The burden of proof lies on the detainee whenever a wound are discovered on the detainee.
  • In the contract between the parents and the facility, the parents give the staff of the facility right to restrain the detainee, whenever the staff seems it fit. The restrain procedure is called PCS (positive control system), which is a combination of twisting wrists and apply pressure on certain parts of the body.

Academics

The facility is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Living conditions

The detainees live in cottages with twelve other detainees. There are seven cottages; 3 for girls and 4 for boys. Each cottage have three bedrooms with bunk beds in them.

News, articles, statements

One of the therapist listed on the program website was not accredited according to a meeting at Utah Marriage and Family Licensing Board [5]. The board ordered the website corrected.

A child was removed from her home in the middle of the night and ended up at Aspen Ranch where she broke down under intense therapy and confessed being raped [6]. The defense claimed that the statement from the girl was made so she could obtain privileges at the facility.

The facility was used as detention in relation to a Dr.Phil show, when another Aspen program - SUWS of Carolina failed treating "Tim" for alcohol- and drug-use [7] [8].

References

External links