Copper Canyon Academy
Copper Canyon Academy is a behavior modification facility for girls aged 13 - 17 located on 3090 Coronado Trail, Lake Montezuma, near Rimrock, Arizona.
It was established in 1995 and is now a part of Aspen Education Group.
The detainees are children who are placed by their parents. The facility can detain 120 detainees.
An average stay takes between 15 and 18 months 
Most of the detainees arrive by use of a Youth transport firm, but some arrive with their parents.
Each detainee has to pass through an intro level and four additional levels in order to be released.
The level system uses small rewards / punishments for what the staff decide is good or bad behavior:
Examples of rewards is :
|Level name||Communication with family||Movement||Permission for religious practicing||Essential personal hygiene|
|Intro - ASSESSMENT AND ORIENTATION||Letter writing to family only||All exercise and sports on grounds only||None||No make-up and only clear nail polish|
|Level 1 - SEEING||Letter writing to family only, one five minute "Check in" phone call after one month and each month thereafter upon therapist's recommendation||All exercise and sports on grounds only||None||No make-up and only clear nail polish|
|Level 2 - CHOOSING||Letter writing to family only, one 30 minute family therapy phone call per month with parents and one five minute "Check in" phone call after one month upon therapist's recommendation, one campus visits each month (1st visit - 4 hours, 2nd visit - 6 hours) with parents/guardians upon therapist's recommendation||Off grounds exercise and sports with direct supervision, Saturday hikes allowed||Eligible for attending place of worship twice a month||No make-up and only clear nail polish|
|Level 3 - CHANGING||Letter writing to family, one 30 minute phone call per week with parents, one off campus visit per month with parents at therapist's recommendation||Two off grounds exercise and sports, Saturday hikes allowed||Eligible for attending place of worship twice a month||Conservative make-up may be worn, must be approved by the Director (only mascara, lip gloss and blush.)|
|Level 4 - INTERNALIZATION & PLANNING||Letter writing to family, one 30 minute phone call per week with parents, during this phase four visits home are allowed. There are strict rules about home visit and which person that is allowed to visit the home during the visit.||All off grounds exercise and sports is allowed, Saturday hikes allowed, shopping excursions every 14 day.||Eligible for attending place of worship twice a month||Conservative make-up may be worn, must be approved by the Director (only mascara, lip gloss and blush.)|
Late in level three or at the start of level four the detainees are moved into a less controlled detention called a "transition home".
The facility is run under in strict environment and according to a statement from a former employee not all kind of religious belief is respected .
According to the program homepage mail is not being read by the staff, but only mail sent from parents are forwarded to the detainee. All other mail is destroyed. All letters written by the detainee are sent to the parents, who can forward these to the recipient if they decide to.
Although other schools under Aspen Education Group has abandoned the Lifestep program  - a kind of LGAT system, which are consider to be close to brainwash by former detainees, client from Aspen Ranch has testified that detainees from that facility were driven down to Copper Canyon Academy in order to participate in Lifestep seminars.
The facility operates under the approval of the by North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
The standards of the dorms vary a lot as this aspect of the detention also is a part of the reward / punishment system . Some of the dorms are named Sycamore (apperently the strictest), Juniper and in the original main house - Willow.
Visitations friends / extended family
While the facility is not a level 3 lockdown, they do not like the detained girls to have contacts with relatives / friends unless the communication goes through the parent(s), who have custody (The nature of the facility make it fit as a tool in a nasty divorce war). But they are located on a public road and when the girls reach a certain level the girls can be attending a church. If you want to try to give them papers of emancipation, try it during church hours or check with the local authorities where the road turns into a private road, so you can avoid being arrested for trespassing.
News, articles, statements
As entertainment for the Dr. Phil show, 16 year old Amanda Bien was detained at Copper Canyon Academy because she had a boyfriend, which descent was below the social standard expected by her parents . She was caught and escorted to the facility after the show. A follow up program confirmed that the strict control of communication at the facility had made it impossible for her to maintain relationship with her boyfriend .
- Info from program web page
- Program homepage about level system
- Statement from former staff member Melanie Lenihan (Heal-online)
- Swift River Team To Discuss New Developments And Applications Of Psychodrama At Miami IECA Workshop Entitled: "Lifesteps or Mis-steps?" (Press release)
- Visitation report (strugglingteens.com - Industry marketing company)
- The Hunt for Amanda (Dr. Phil TV-show)
- Follow-up show (Dr. Phil TV-show)
- Info: Program homepage
- Survivor Group: CCA Survivors, Myspace
- Survivor Group: Copper Canyon Gurlz, Myspace
- Survivor Group: Copper Canyon Sucks, Myspace
- Survivor Group: Copper Canyon, Myspace