Paradise Cove

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Paradise Cove was a behavior modification facility in Samoa.

It was connected to World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP).

It was closed in 1998 after an investigation into abuse [1]

It was one of the first overseas programs in the organization.

It was the first facility to use the Exit plan, which is now used wide-spread at behavior modification facilities across the states.

Living conditions

When detainees arrive they are placed on level 1 - the lowest level. Even in this early version of the WWASP concept there were strict rules. Some of them was:

  • Being watched at all times by a upper level detainee - even in the bathroom, and when they are sleeping other upper detainees watched them in order to secure lack of personal space.
  • Level 1 must ask for permission in order to do anything - speak, move, go to bathroom etc.
  • Special uniform for the lowest level - yellow shorts.
  • Poor sleeping accommodation - sleeping on a mat in a thatched-roof hut without walls.
  • Primitive food: boiled chicken, tiny bananas, spaghetti with mystery sauce.
  • No eye contact with other detainees. Eye contact was discouraged because it was considered unauthorized nonverbal communication.
  • Detainees, who did break rules, where taken into solitary confinement. It was described as "little box-type thing" where the detainees had to lie on their stomach. Used of handcuffs, shackles, even duct tape were reported [2]

They advanced through the program by passing some seminars, which were marathon group therapy often for more than 10 hours. Each level gives more privileges to the detainee. At level three they could phone their parents one time per month, while they only had to possibility to write home on the lower levels. There were 6 levels to pass in order to graduate.

In the news

One of the former detainees was portrayed in the three part series "Desperate Measures" published by Rocky Mountain News [3].

A former detainee was accused of hiring a hitman to kill his parents after they sent him to the facility [4].

Lawsuits have been made against the facility by parents of former detainees [5] [6]. The reason for the lawsuit can be read here [7].

Former detainees have created a place to meet online [8]

References

  1. Gregory Glass, Norman Douglas, Giff Johnson, and Fili Sagapolute,U.S. Aids Exodus from Wilderness Camp, Pacific Magazine, September 1, 2001
  2. Lou Kilzer, 'It saved his life', Rocky Mountain News
  3. Lou Kilzer,Lost Boy, Rocky Mountain News
  4. Scott Hiaasen,Plot to kill parents is detailed, Transcript from Miami Herald on ISAC
  5. Troubled Teen Programs - 25 Plaintiffs Join in Lawsuit Against WWASPS, Cross Creek Manor, Robert Lichfield, and Associates – More Expected to Join In, Webwire presslease
  6. STANLEY GOOLD, III. and STANLEY GOOLD, JR. v facilities associated with WWASP
  7. Tom Kellner, Too-tough love?, Forbes 1999
  8. Paradise Cove Samoa Abuse WWASP - 10 Years later. The scars still remain. Online meeting forum for survivors

External Links:

Info pages

Survivor groups

Message boards