Diamond Ranch Academy O&A/ RFI Survivor Survey – Rich
What age were you and what year(s) were you enrolled in Diamond Ranch Academy? – 17 March-December 2005
Did you experience the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – Yes I was in Homeless not sure what RFI is since I don’t believe that existed while I was there.
How long were you in the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – 3 weeks or so I learned to keep my mouth shut pretty quickly and just try like hell to fly under the radar.
What activities were commonly required during the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – Homeless- Pointlessly push a wooden cart through the desert for hours on end, calisthenics, there was also a list of things you had to complete before you could exit the homeless part of the program.
What kind of meals were you served throughout the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – Oatmeal with powdered milk, undercooked or burnt rice and lentils, the occasional piece of white bread with a slice of cheese.
Were you ever restrained? Why? – A couple of times. The first was in my first couple of days there for trying run away and another time the first few days I was there for stopping during calisthenics because I was exhausted.
Did you witness restraint? Why was that person restrained? – I witnessed so many kids getting restrained it’s not funny the restraint was a very popular form of punishment when I was there especially for the first half or so of the time I was there. Some staff members seemed to derive some form of sick pleasure from slamming people into lava rock and restraining them.
In your opinion, what was the purpose of the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – I personally believe it was to try and break your spirit so that you would be more cooperative and make it easier to bend your will into following the “program”.
What were you told by staff was the purpose of the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process? – I honestly cannot remember but I’m sure they had a very nice “explanation”.
After you finished the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process, were you ever dropped back down to “homeless” or sent to RFI? – I was never dropped back to homeless but I did to some time in what was called the Focus Center after a failed attempt to run away. I’m not sure what the other two are they did have the focus center and instituted a work crew while i was there.
Was RFI different than Homeless/ O&A? How? –
Were you strip searched? How many times? – The only time I was strip searched was when I first arrived at the “program”.
In your opinion, would you consider this process to be therapeutic? Absolutely not. I believe it was actually very detrimental I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a troublemaker and was using drugs heavily at the time but, I do not believe any part of this program was therapeutic for me.
Did you experience any medical issues while participating in the Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process?
Were those medical issues properly addressed? – I remember getting a pretty nasty cold and they didn’t do much but there’s not much you can do for a cold anyway.
If you could recommend any changes to DRA’s Homeless/ O&A/ RFI process, what would it be? – I say shut the entire thing down.
I’m writing this out and I could go on for hours about this place, the owner’s, the manipulative practices they use to suck people in, the untrained staff, and the total lack of therapy. I hope this reaches some child’s parent that could be considering sending them to DRA and maybe convince them to seek another form of treatment for their child. Most especially because of children who have gone missing from that place I have read about and the deaths of some children at DRA.
I was picked up sometime in the middle of the night by two large gentlemen, put on a plane, flown to Las Vegas, and driven into the middle of nowhere in the Utah desert. I had absolutely no clue where I was being taken or what was going on ,though, I was coming down off of a bunch of drugs so that didn’t help either. Fast forward to the Homeless stage I was restrained pretty brutally a couple of times my first few days there but quickly learned to keep my mouth shut and just go with things to try and fly under the radar and not stand out. The things I witnessed happen to other kids there haunt me to this day and I’m almost 27 years old.
Now, into the “program” where basically I did my best not to get noticed in order to avoid the wrath of certain staff members there namely Robby Dias who for whatever reason took a special interest in me. I do remember an incident where I was reading during “Higher Power Hour” on a Sunday and not being a religious person was not reading a bible or religious material and incurred the wrath of Robby’s very short temper and narrowly avoided a restraint don’t ask me how because I’m sure he wanted to,but, I did get him back by getting a book about Buddhism and reading that the next Sunday much to Robby’s delight. I did try to Runway a second time about halfway through my time there and was punished pretty severely for that one in the focus center.
All in all I was there for nine months I witnessed some pretty awful things happen to kids of all types from gang members to kids with mental handicaps who never should have been there. In my experience it didn’t help me at all maybe its helped a few kids here and there but overall from my view it had the adverse effect or people just faked it to get the hell out of there. The place is like some kind of strange LDS Mormon cult and I wouldn’t wish being sent there on anyone’s child and I can’t speak for what the place is like now but from what I’ve read about it some kids have died there from negligence which does not surprise me.