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Canyon State Academy is a behavior modification facility located near Oracle, North East of Tucson, Arizona [1].

It is owned by a company with the name Rite of Passage.


The Arizona Boys Ranch was chain of camps runned from 1951 to 1998.

The Arizona Boys Ranch was closed in 1998 and a boy died in their care. Later they changed the name to Canyon State Academy. [2]

Program Structure

The have three program. Two programs for court referred teenagers called Academy and Shelter last either two months or 12 - 15 months.

Parents who choose to detain their child at the facility can choose the private placement program.

They use a level system with 4 levels, which are named Rookie, Intern, RAM, and Block R [3].

About the different levels it is stated:

Every new student starts out as a Rookie which means they are inexperienced with the Positive Peer Culture system. It is a learning period just like a rookie on a sports team. He has to prove himself. He needs to know the plays. He needs to learn the norms of the team. He needs to make good personal and team decisions. He must earn his status as a pro.

The Intern has demonstrated to peers and staff their ability to meet the requirements to become a RAM. They are expected to display respect always, intervene with negative behavior, support all interventions, accept intervention, always be a gentleman, actively participate in Guided Group Meetings, actively participate in Team meetings. They have to pass a RAM intern test. Write an essay regarding their pledge to honor and uphold the norms of CSA and reasons they should become a ram. Complete a progressive check list.

The RAM level means you have earned the trust of peers and staff to uphold the norms of CSA. Still carry out the expectations demonstrated as an intern. Develop a life story that creates positive change in their life – know it, say it, live it! More privileges come with RAM status.

Block R is the highest level. If a student loses his status as a Block R, he may not apply again. However, he can become a RAM again, should he lose his status as a RAM.”

In the News

The death of Nicholas Contreraz triggered the change of name. A blog in relationship with a GAO hearing mention the incident [4]

The autopsy on Nicholas Contreraz showed that after Boys Ranch staffers punished and humiliated the teen for days, he suffered from a severe infection in the lining of his lungs. Five employees were charged criminally, but all counts were dropped. The ranch now operates under the name Canyon State Academy.

Julie Vega, Contreraz's mother, recently told The Arizona Republic, "I feel like he was sacrificed, and some good things changed for the better because of him. But nobody really paid a price for his death."


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