Diamond Ranch Academy

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Current status Open
Checked July 29 - 2017
Open.gif Opened 1999 (Idaho)
2001 (Utah)

Diamond Ranch Academy is a behavior modification facility marketed as a boarding school. [1]

It was started in 1999[2] and operated in Idaho before moving to Utah. The founders were Rob and Sherri Dias. For many years they operated from a Ranch like campus east of the town [3]

They are able to detain 40 teenagers aged either between 12 and 15 or 16 to 17 on each of the 4 dorms[2]. The dorms are both age and gender separated [2].

They are member of the private organization of behavior modification programs called NATSAP [2].

Early 2012 it was reported that construction of a new campus west of the present one was started. It will house 150 teenagers and will be located on y 4000 West Sand Hollow Road [4]. The old campus has been listed for sale.

Program Structure


The facility allows the use of escort firms. They can provide a list of firms if the parents do not want to discuss the banishment with their child and order a pickup instead.

Level structure

They use a level system with 5 regular levels.

The regular levels are named: Student, Supervisor, Manager, Director and Graduate.

Besides these, they also have a level called Homeless. It is used for teenagers, which arrive at the facility and have to be forced into acceptance of the fact that they are abandoned by their family and detained at the facility for a unknown time.

If one of the detained teenagers breaks one of the many rules of the facility such as destruction of ranch property, being more than 15 feet from staff, stealing food, talking to the other gender or swearing, they can end up on the level called unemployment. Being unemployed means being forced to drag or pull a cart around the property from 5am in the morning to 10pm in the evening. Lunch etc. have be dealt with outside.

Living conditions

The detained teenagers are living small dorms - more exactly small houses sized about 500 sqft. Each house contains 1 staff and up to 8 teenagers. They are always gender separated. As for sanitation there are 2 bathrooms with 2 sinks. A photo on the homepage shows 4 beds in a single room. The names of the dorms are Lava Falls, Stone Ridge, Crystal Springs, Whisper Creek. For marketing purposes they each have a blog [5]


The detained teenager can speak with his or her parents every second week as a part of family therapy session over the phone. Parents can on weeks, when there is no family therapy speak with a staff member instead.

The detained teenagers can email and write letters to the parents.

After 10 weeks the parents are allowed to visit their child. When the child reaches the director level, he or she can go on a home visit. A second home visit can be done on graduate level.


Unemployment and possible restraint if neccessary. If the teenagers threaten to run or commit suicide they are put on safety watch, in this time they have their shoes laces taken and are required 3 searches a day along with a shower search at the end of the night.


Rob Dias was used as consultant for a TV-serie, which today is recognized as masked marketing for the industry [6]


  • January 2009 a boy was found dead after he was placed in their sick bay. No cause of death has been found. Investigation by the family is pending [7][8]
  • In 2009 a support group was started on Facebook in order to secure the release of one of the detainees [9]
  • May 2012 a petition to save a girl from Louisiana was started. Worldwide people have joined in to save the girl [10].
  • September 2013 a boy lost his life while he was attending Diamond Ranch Academy. Investigation is pending [11]
  • 2014 The facility started a campaign hunting down survivors and their supporters who have spoken out against the conditions at the facility [12]
  • 2015 It was reported that one of the teachers were charged by the police with two first-degree felony counts of aggravated child sexual abuse and 10 second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. These activities were unrelated to his job but the police tracked his IP-number to the school which shows that he had been using work equipment for his illegal activities [13]. His wife - also previous employed at the facility was arrested on related charges [14]. The charges against the wife was dropped but the teacher was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.
  • 2017 A lawsuit was filed against the facility due to alleged actions by an employee involving sexual assault [15]

External Links

Info pages

Survivor Groups

Message boards


  1. The new campus on Google maps
  2. 2,0 2,1 2,2 2,3 Program Details, NATSAP National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs
  3. The old campus on Google maps
  4. Hurricane City Planning Commission minutes 8-24-2011, City of Hurricane
  5. Blog: Diamond Ranch Academy, Lava Falls Campus Blog
    Blog: Diamond Ranch Academy, Stone Ridge Campus Blog
    Blog: Diamond Ranch Academy, Crystal Springs Campus Blog
    Blog: Diamond Ranch Academy, Whisper Creek Campus Blog
  6. Transcript from Joe's Guest Appearance on "Donny and Marie", Joe Lando web page, February 4 2000
    Higher Ground, Internet Movie DataBase
  7. "James Shirey Jr, Legacy.com
  8. James Richard "Jim" Shirey, memorial website
  9. Bring Brendan Home, Facebook
    DRA detainee has a support group, a thread on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
  10. Pentition: Save Victoria From Diamond Ranch Academy, a thread on the message board run by National Youth Rights Association
    DHS confirms another child death at Diamond Ranch Academy, a thread on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
  13. Hundreds of images found, man charged with 12 felonies for child sex crimes, by Carin Miller, The St. George News, September 10 2015
  14. Husband, wife face child sexual exploitation charges, by Haven Scott, The Spectrum, October 1 2015
  15. Sexual assault lawsuit filed against Diamond Ranch Academy, by Bree Burkitt, The Spectrum, July 28 - 2017