Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – Anonymous
What age were you and what year(s) were you enrolled in Diamond Ranch Academy? – Age 17, July 2015
Did you experience the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – yes, just RFI. O&A had been already removed when I arrived.
How long were you in the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – The longest I was in RFI was for 14 consecutive days
What activities were commonly required during the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – school work, work projects, and calisthenics. In RFI, you were forced to go to school for an extra 5hrs (3pm-8pm) after an 8hr school day (7am-3pm). You were not allowed to speak without asking to do so, and it could only be related to school work. We would take breaks and do what was called a work project, where we would do all of the schools cleaning. DRA did not have any kind of sufficient cleaning staff, so the students did most of the cleaning. Scrubbing base boards, floors, toilets, and cleaning communal areas as well as doing more pointless work projects such as sweeping the rocks off of the outside sidewalk or cleaning up the timbleweeds or other natural outdoor occurrences was common. It was also required to do an hour of calisthenics, usually running.
What kind of meals were you served throughout the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – The same meals as the other girls, although almost none of the food was of good quality. I would estimate 80%-90% of the food to be frozen and processed, the average weight gain for girls was around 25lbs, regardless of whether or not you were admitted underweight. This was a common excuse staff members would make when trying to explain the unhealthy weight gain.
Were you ever restrained? Why? – No.
Did you witness restraint? Why was that person restrained? – Yes, I witnessed restraint almost daily for various reasons. Pretty much any kind of persistent disobedience would get you restrained, refusing to eat the food, refusing to do calisthenics, refusing to go to RFI. One girl was particularly rebellious and would refuse to cooperate with supervisors often, and she was restrained by multiple staff members who ended up pressing her face into the carpet so hard that it damaged the nerves on one half of her face. Her face stayed this way for months after the event, and she never received justice for the pain inflicted on her. The staff involved were fired or repositioned.
In your opinion, what was the purpose of the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – In my opinion, the purpose of RFI was to teach obedience without a cause, and to “break” you in a way. Not being able to talk to anyone or communicate at all is in my opinion unacceptable. How is silencing someone giving them therapy or help? The work projects and calisthenics made you feel like you were in human almost, their attitude was as if “you cannot cooperate, we will make you run and clean and write papers until you do.”
What were you told by staff was the purpose of the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – RFI stood for refocus initiative, and it was supposed to be a solitary time out of sorts, to think about what you did to deserve to be there and so on.
After you finished the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process, were you ever dropped back down to “homeless” or sent to RFI? – Yes, like I previously stated, any kind of disobedience could get you sent to RFI.
Was RFI different than Homeless/ O&A? How? – n/a
Were you strip searched? How many times? – We were required to take off all of our clothes and put on a hospital gown upon arrival & any time you went off campus with your parents or guardian. They did not look at your naked body unless you were on suicide watch and that was in order to check for self-inflicted abrasion.
In your opinion, would you consider this process to be therapeutic? Absolutely not. The only part of this program I would consider therapeutic were the actual therapy sessions, which I only received once a week. The strict rules and restrictions and confinement from the outdoors and the other sex are enough to drive any free spirit insane.
Did you experience any medical issues while participating in the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process?
Were those medical issues properly addressed? – No. n/a
If you could recommend any changes to DRA’s Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process, what would it be? – to irradiate it completely. Being forced into a residential treatment center with no direct contact with your friends, family or the other sex is already punishment enough. Further solitary confinement is cruel in my opinion.