Carolina Springs Academy

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Carolina Springs Academy is a behavior modification facility located one mile north of the town of Due West, South Carolina. It operates under an umbrella organization of WWASP. The property on which the school is placed, is owned by Narvin Lichfield.

It was founded in 1998 and it can detain 160 teenagers.

Program description

Some detainees arrive tricked by their families but parents are advised to use a teen escort company.

Level system

The programs consist of six levels.

New detainees starts at level 1 - called Entry. They must show good behavior and attend a number of seminars in order to be voted up to the next level by their fellow detainees and therapists. Detainees start with no privileges. One example is communication with the parents. According to a contract from 2005 the rules of communication is regulated as described below [1].

Level Communication policy
Entry Parents communicate via phone with family representative - no direct communication between parents and child, censored email is allowed.
Achievement Parents communicate via phone with family representative - no direct communication between parents and child, censored email is allowed.
Advanced One 15 minutes phone call with parents per month, censored email also allowed.
Service Two 20 minutes phone calls with parents per month, 3 days visit in local area but the child has to sleep on the campus.
Honor Before Child seminar II: Three 20 minutes phone calls with parents per month, 3 days visit in local area but the child has to sleep on the campus. After Child seminar II: Three 20 minutes phone calls with parents per month, One 5-7 day home visit per month
High Honor Weekly 20 minutes phone calls, Home visit as on Honor Level after the seminars.

It is a harsh and challenging environment. According to statements [2] [3] some of the other privileges which the detainee has to work for is:

  • talking with fellow detainees (Level two and above) unless it is
    a part of group therapy
  • Right to shave or use hair products(Level two and above)
  • Shoes (Level 3 and above)
  • Make-up or jewelry (Level 4 and above) In order to keep the
    detainees from running from the facility, a number of security precautions are mandatory:
  • No use of bathroom with doors fully closed.
  • No crossing of threshold without asking staff
  • No recording of phone numbers or addresses beside the parents
  • Check every morning to ensure that only one pair of bras, underwear and socks are on.
  • No watching television or newspaper reading
  • No looking out of the windows
  • No speaking when staff orders "silence"
  • No physical contact with other girls except as part of group therapy (hugs)

Once a detainee reach level 4, they become junior staff member based the education they themselves have obtained as a detainee in the program. However they are still closely monitored so they do not give favors to students in lower levels.

Consequences

Any moving up and down in the system is done via a point system which is controlled by good or bad behavior and the ability to observe the rules. Negative points can given to a student that masturbates in private (If suspicious remains is found anywhere) or for looking at detainees of the other sex. If the student are not moving forward in the system or have lost point they can be put on "observation placement" which is a kind of time out where any movements are not allowed. They can also be transferred to other facilities like Tranquility Bay [4].

Exit Plan

A detainee graduates when the person reach level six or the person become 18. If a person does not reach level six before the 18 birthday, the detainee can choose an "exit plan", which consists of being handed money (amounts between 10 and 100 dollar according to sources) and a bus ticket to the nearest town, so they can stay in a shelter and start their adult life without the support of their family.

The family of the detainee has no obligations to take the detainee back and in fact they parents are urged no to during seminars, they have to attend in order to visit their own child once, they have enrolled the child in the program.

Parent involvement

Parents are not obligated to do anything. It is an totally outsourcing of the adolescents of the youth, but if they insist in seeing the child during the stay, they are mandated to attend a parents seminar, so they are emotionally prepared to reject any kind of claim of abuse from the child about the place [5].

In the news

The owner of Carolina Spring was also involved in another facility Academy at Dundee Ranch in Costa Rica. There was an request about an investigation of the facility [6]. The facility is also involved in a lawsuit [7]. Parents claims that the marketing of the facility does not show the full extend of what is going on there [8] [9] [10]

June 2008 a dorm at the facility burned down [11]

References

  1. Enrollement contract from 2005
  2. Statement from former student, (HelpYourTeens)
  3. Teen tells school horror story (Times Record News Wichita Falls, Texas November 20, 1998 - Reprint from International Survivor Action Committee)
  4. [Trickery at Tranquility Bay, Jamaica (HelpYourTeens)
  5. Parents discovery (3 days) - facility homepage
  6. Correspondence between Congressman George Miller and Attorney General John Ashcroft about alleged human rights violations of children in WWASPS facilities 2003 - 2004
  7. Documents from Turley Law Firm
  8. A mother's story (Coalition against Institutionalized child abuse)
  9. Seven Days I Will Never Forget (Coalition ageist Institutionalized child abuse)
  10. Deception, Misrepresentation & Fraud (HelpYourTeens)
  11. Fire destroys dorm at school for troubled teens, The Charlotte Observer, June 26 2008

External links

Info pages

Survivor groups

Message boards

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