Turnabout/Stillwater Academy

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Current status Open
Detainees.gif Capacity 50
Checked October 9, 2010
Open.gif Opened 1988

Turnabout/Stillwater Academy is a behavior modification facility located on 11175 South Redwood Road, South Jordan, Utah [1]

They can detain 50 teenagers of both genders [2]

The length of the program is between 9 and 14 months [2].

The program was founded in 1988 [2].

Program structure

An article in Reason Magazine state that the program is developed based on the now defunct Straight, Incorporated [3]

The use of host families seem to confirm that [4] Like the program they is stated to have built the structure on, they use a level system. The levels are [5]:

Level Name Communication / freedom
outside the program
Safety Only with parents by letter The student is not ready for change or even aware of a need for change.
Students will typically act defensively or offer passive compliance at this stage (“I don’t need to be here”, “My parents are the one with the problem”)
Students may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of being in a program and what it will really take to change.
Students will run through their repertoire of coping strategies such as anger, manipulation, withdrawal, etc.
Students are invited to be safe. They are expected to learn the norms/routines of the program, and learn the group process.
Students begin to identify: what behaviors have gotten them to this point, thinking errors, strengths and how to get support.
Awareness Preparing to back to their own home or phone contact with parents (out of state detainees) Students begin to become conscious of the problem. They are start to be aware that choices and behavior have consequences.

Students start making changes but are still motivated by an external locus of control.
Students at this stage of change are compliant most of the time although they may often test limits and use negative coping strategies to deal with negative feelings, frustration, etc.
Students are learning how to problem solve and ask for help when needed. May become a “support” in our peer support system.
May present Autobiography to parents at this stage.
As this is an incubation stage, students are becoming more open to internal change.

Discovery May receive visits from parents (out of state detainees) Students start to experience the benefits of real change.
Students practice problem solving daily and accept feedback from their peers and staff.
Although still externally motivated, students begin to explore the real issues and examine cycles, family systems, and personal issues such as addiction, trauma, mood disorders, etc.
Students develop new coping strategies, relationship skills, and start to be aware of the “cost” that making change requires.
Students at this stage start to care about their peers and the group and see themselves as part of a larger community.
Students are ready and willing to take responsibility for their behavior and support peers in taking responsibility for themselves.
Responsibility May have home visits (out of state detainees), may go home alone (local detainees) Students actually do what they say they will.
They are starting to become internally motivated and do things because they like the way change feels.
Although there is normal resistance to change, students at this stage are starting to be self motivated to change. They do not do things just to please others avoid discomfort or get out of the program.
Students show leadership and personal power when interacting with peers, staff, and family.
Students are goal oriented and are able to identify goals and objectives.
Students are actively working on issues and shows consistency in dealing appropriately with challenges.
Students have an established relationship with family members and demonstrates a willingness to continue to address family issues.
They actively hold others accountable and show leadership through example.
Students demonstrate a healthy balance of priorities.

Students are peer leaders and take personal responsibility for the progress of the group.

Leadership May work in the local community Students are internally motivated.
Students feel good about what they have accomplished and newly developed coping strategies are becoming habits.
Have a strong sense of self.
Actively demonstrate an ability to address conflict, triggers, issues, etc. appropriately and hold themselves accountable with minimal supervision.
Students work on a comprehensive transition plan and may graduate the program.
Integrity may work part time, attend college and make frequent home visits New habits have become second nature.
Have a strong sense of personal commitment to give back to family, peers, and society.

Students are excited about the next phase of their life.
Students encourage responsiveness in almost everyone they deal with. They are congruent and “walk their talk”.

Living condition

The detained teenagers live at host families rather than on campus [4] The detainees may not make eye contact, speak, or look out the windows or outside. Consequences are imposed if any of the Turnabout Norms are broken. In order to get promoted in the system, it is essential to "write issues" on the other kids in the group about their wrongdoings.


The facility is was named in relationship with an article about Oppositional Defiant Disorder [6]

External Links

Info pages

Survivor groups

Message boards


  1. The facility on Google maps
  2. 2,0 2,1 2,2 About Turnabout Stillwater, NATSAP homepage
  3. The Trouble with Troubled Teen Programs, by Maia Szalavitz, Reason Magazine, January 2007
  4. 4,0 4,1 Housing, homepage of the program
  5. A System of Structure & Achievement, homepage of the program
  6. Just Call Them Crazy, By Stevphen Shukaitis, WireTap, June 12, 2003
    Mr. Asch mentioned in the article was later freed
    anarchist psychiatric prisoner Alex Asch freed!, a thread on the A-infos message board