Eagle Mountain Outpost

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Eagle Mountain Outpost was a behavior modification program in Sandpoint, Idaho [1].

In 1990 they could detain 36 teenagers, male only, aged between 10 and 17.

The program lasted about a year.

The name of a former director is mentioned to be Brenda Hammond [2]

Program structure

They used a point system.

Each of the detainees started the day with maximum points of 68. If they did not obey commands or instructions, they lost points in particular categories, usually interactions, with either peers or staff. Dropping below certain point totals averaged over a week could caused a loss of level, with any single day of 50 or below causing a drop to Level 1. Level 1 was the most restrictive of the "normal" levels, with Level 0 being a punishment level for major violations (such as AWOL, which was interesting -- Outpost had no fence. If you wanted to leave, they'd pack you a lunch, take your jacket and shoes, and wave goodbye. One student got as far as Spokane before he was picked up.). Level 0 had bedtime right after dinner, no hot food (breakfast was cold cereal, lunch and dinner were PBJ) At least once, a level BELOW 0 was created which was even MORE restrictive: Double-Zero, for a student whose name is known but will not be mentioned for privacy reasons. The system covered nearly all areas of behavior, and was sensitive enough to respond with appropriate consequences on a day-to-day basis, and over longer terms.[3]

The levels were 1, 2, 3, and 3R. All new students started out at Level 3 for their first week, with points applying as of the second week as they became acclimated to the system. It was not uncommon for students to maintain their Level 3 for several weeks only to have a bad day or two to cause them to drop to Level 2 or 1. Level meetings were held once a week during which time the student group and staff would gather to decide whether or not a student could be "promoted" to the next higher level. The exceptions were Level 0 to Level 1, which was strictly a staff decision, and Level 3 to Level 3R (R for "Responsible"), which was also strictly a staff decision. 3R's were the peer leaders, with privileges (such as being able to carry lighters for cigarettes) beyond those of "ordinary" students on Levels 1-3 [3].

Usually, when a student reached 3R, he was ready for graduation, although many finished the program without ever attaining this level [3].

Higher levels meant more overseeing responsibility and more privileges, though not always less work. Some of the perks of being level 3 and 3R included weekly excursions into the town of Sandpoint, skiing at Schweitzer, roller skating, movie night, or the park. Level 3's and 3R's were traditionally paid a 7.00 allowance on a week they kept Level 3, which could be spent on those excursions [3].

A significant part of the system was the use of peer pressure.[4]

Communication

The family could visit their child after 3 months on campus -- This didn't happen very often, although it did happen. Mostly, it was phone calls, which could be taken almost anytime, day or night, when a student was Level 2 or above [3].

News

An investigation by Health and Welfare officials took place betweem 1987 and 1988 but it was dropped after the director Tom Finucane resigned [5][6]

External Links

Info pages

Survivor groups

References

  1. Eagle Mountain Outpost - Idaho, the area around the facility - delivered from Satellite views
  2. EAGLE MOUNTAIN - Shiloh Station Outpost, strugglingteens.com - industry marketing firm, 1993
  3. 3,0 3,1 3,2 3,3 3,4 Personal recollections of a student, 1987-1988
  4. Eagle Mountain Outpost Visit, strugglingteens.com - industry marketing firm, April 11 1990
  5. Complaint Filed Against Eagle Mountain, by Cynthia Taggert and Dean Miller, The Spokesman-Review, September 22, 1987
  6. Eagle Mountain Outpost Case Dropped After Finucane Resigns, by Dean Miller, The Spokesman-Review, November 16, 1988