Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – katherine S.
Date of Submission: 12/28/13
Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Please contact me with further information.
Age and year of admittance – 15 2012
How long was your stay at D.R.A.? – 15 months
How long have you been back home? – 2weeks
Did you graduate from DRA? – Yes
Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – No
Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – Yes wilderness
Before the program did you have a criminal record or spend time in Juvenile Hall? – No
Where you court ordered, or did your parents choose to send you to DRA? – My parents chose to send me
Did you consent to treatment at DRA? Did you sign a contract? – Yes, no
Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – Ya I got drug tested but that’s it
Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into DRA? – I don’t know
Were you strip searched? How many times? – Yes when I first got there and then every time I can back from an off ranch visit
How much was your tuition? 60,000 I think
Considering how much your tuition cost, Do you think you were given an adequate education at DRA.? –
In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – Yes I loved the teachers they helped me a lot and I got a lot of school done
Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – Math was kinda open book cause it’s on the computer and you can take notes and use then but other than that it’s all multiple choice and then short answers and essays.
How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – I got a year and a half in 15 months.
Did you receive a diploma from DRA? – No not for school.
Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – No we had to ask and then you might be put on a list and they might have the doctor see you in the next week or so.
Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – No you had to ask and then it took a month or so to get an appointment.
If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – Not unless u were throwing up every 5 minutes or u passed out.
Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – Yes and my foot ended up being broken.
Was a medical service offered for drug detox or drug rehabilitation? – No
Was there any kind of “Drug Education” available for students who had used drugs in the past? – Yes but your therapist had to put u in the classes/ groups
What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at DRA? – Ephraim, yes, he had a master’s or doctorate in family and marriage counseling
Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – No
Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – Sometimes
Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – Yes but u didn’t have to to advance
Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – No there’s only o&a student supervisor manager director then graduate
Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – Yes but u were not forced to
In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – It was really bad when I first.got there but it has improved dramatically in the last few months
Did you ever go hungry? Were you given proper portions? Was food ever withheld as a punishment? – No yes and no
Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – No and I wasn’t but some girls were
Were you ever punished for vomiting? – No
Please describe the “homeless” (Observation & Assessment) experience. How did you feel about this? – I really liked it because it gave me time to think even though you out couldn’t talk for 2 weeks I think it helped a lot with all the change going on
Were upper levels or any level students asked to babysit the staff’s children, or taken to the staff’s house for any extended period of time? – No we weren’t allowed off campus unless we had 2 staff with us and the place we were going had to be approved
Where you aware of anyone being restrained and isolated from the group? – Yes
What reasons were these people restrained? (please describe actual events) – Because they were yelling or threatening other students or staff and they were a danger to themselves or others
Where stress positions utilized? Were there more time in isolation given if the student would move, cry or speak? – No and no
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to a level 1 student.)
Was contact with your parents limited? Where your letters (to and from) intercepted? Were your letters opened, read, crossed out or cut? – Well I. O&a you couldn’t talk to them in till u got out which was usually 2 weeks but then you got a 5 minute phone call ….. you could write them everyday if you wanted but the staff read the letters and they were read but not altered
How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – 2 weeks yes by a staff or therapist
If you felt you were being abused, was there anyway you could get to a phone and have a private conversation with your parents, child services or an officer of the law? – Not unless you had a visit but no one ever got abused
If you wanted to leave were you discouraged to tell your parents how you felt? Were you afraid that you would be punished if you were to describe any incidents of abuse to your parents? – You weren’t discouraged the only thing that would happen is that your letter would g poo to your therapist and they would read it and then send it …. No. Matter what the letter says they have to send it
Were there other students (upper levels) assigned to watch over you? What was their role? Did they give you consequences/ “hold you accountable”? Were they instructed to restrain you or monitor the isolation area, bathrooms and showers? – Yes if you went to the bathroom during class they would stand out side the door to make sure you didn’t harm yourself or try to run they would tell the staff if anything bad was going on but other than that that’s all they did.
Did you have to raise your hand and wait to ask permission from staff (or upper levels) to speak, stand, eat, go to the bathroom and do other normal activities? – Yes but only the staff can give you permission and that’s only in o&a or after 8 pm in the dorms
How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – You could speak at meals but only when u had ur food you could speak during class and during clubs and constructive free time (cft) and on the weekends we could talk all the time except during movies and study time
Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – No that was only at the old ranch and since we moved things have gotten a lot easier
Would you be given a consequence if you forgot something? (for instance, a pen or a book) – Yes you would get a cite and it would effect how long you stayed there depending on how many cites you had in a week.
Were your personal items inspected by other students? (upper levels?) without your consent or presence? – No only staff could go through your things and only if they had a reason to like if you were threatening to harm yourself or others
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to an “upper level” student.)
What were the requirements in order to progress in the level system? Was approval from the other upper levels required? – The upper levels had to follow the Sam rules as everyone else. But we used to be able to go OLS which ment staff couldn’t see you but other than that everything was the same for everyone. You had to pass 6weeks at student 8 weeks at supervisor 6 weeks at manager 6 weeks at director and then 6 weeks at graduate
What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – We could be OLS for wither 3 minutes for manager 5 minutes for director or 7 minutes for graduate
Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – No
Were the rules upper levels enforced specific to the rule book or were the definitions of those rules assumed? Could rules easily be made up or given under a category that was vague enough to be given out for any number of things? – They were the same
Were you punished/ held back if you chose not to pass out citations, and opted to verbally warn students instead? – No we didn’t give cites
Did an upper level have to power to influence a child being taken to the isolation room? Were upper levels instructed to watch or participate in restraints? – There were no isolation rooms no one was allowed to watch that
Were upper levels required to give visiting parents a glowing testimonial of their experience in the program, or make testimonial videos or letters? Were pre-written scripts required to be read during the filming of promotional videos? – No you didn’t have to talk to anyone’s parents and there were no scripts given
What would happen if an upper level student mentioned anything bad about the program in front of a parent? Were students afraid of punishment if they told the truth? – Some of us were afraid but there was no punishment you usually just got a dirty look from a staff
How easily could an upper level get dropped (start the program over)? What infractions would make an upper level drop and what level did they usually go back to? – It’s not that easy to get dropped if you were a bad mentor to o&a if you were excessively talking to boys without permission or touching them and u w poo ups usually only get dropped one level depending on the severity
What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of D.R.A? – I love them Rick and Robby and very sweet and I feel they care a lot there parents Rob abd Sheri are also very nice and they believe in all of the kids and truly want the best for them
Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – I don’t think they used tough love at all
Do you believe that the staff and junior staff usually acted within the US standards for health, safety and well being of the students? – Yes
Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at DRA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative?Yes it has helped me to grow and change it was a very positive experience for me
Full Testimony (if provided)
DRA has helped me so much I have became a whole new person because of the staff and the girls that helped me push myself to become the young lady that I know I can be and that I became. my therapist also helped me through some hard times and really helped bring my family back together.