Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – moon
Date of Submission: 03-12-15
Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Yes.
Age and year of admittance – 16 (2002)
How long was your stay at D.R.A.? – 3 months
How long have you been back home? – this was back in 2002
Did you graduate from DRA? – no
Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – no. occasional drinking marijuana use. Experimental/entry levels.
Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – no
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? – parents
Did you consent to treatment at DRA? Did you sign a contract? – I was sent by parents (hired escorts)
Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – I was sent by parents (hired escorts)
Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into DRA? – I was sent by parents (hired escorts)
Were you strip searched? How many times? – yes. only when i arrived
How much was your tuition? I was sent by parents
Considering how much your tuition cost, Do you think you were given an adequate education at DRA.? – no
In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – they had high school independent study courses from BYU
Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – yes
How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – three courses. PE, English, History
Did you receive a diploma from DRA? – no
Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – don’t recall.
Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – no
If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – I didn’t get sick
Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – yes (too be honest; i was faking it though. i didn’t want to be there. looking for a way out.)
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 it was very very small scale.
What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at DRA? – Scott. I believe he had a Doctorate
Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – sometimes
Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – yes (one occasion)
Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – yes
Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – no; a handful of people volunteerd
Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – prayers before eating. and indirectly because of the Mormon presence of the staff.
However: Rob & Sherrie were sympathetic towards other religions.
In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – if you were “unemployed”:no
if you were employed : good food and healthy
unemployed food; common foods: oats,rice,sunflower seeds, green beans.
if you “earned” a spice: soy sauce, brown sugar, butter
This is very unhealthy; not enough protein/nutrients.
Did you ever go hungry? Were you given proper portions? Was food ever withheld as a punishment? – yes! in unemployment their was a young married couple (staff) that rationed the food. During counseling session (My parents, Scott, & I), I spoke up about this. Scott said I was being “manipulative” and trying to frighten my parents. So I shut up and agreed with him out of fear.
When the staff shift rotation changed to Stacy and his pregnant wife, I let him know what the other staff was doing. He got upset and corrected them. This fixed the problem.
Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – I lost weight
Were you ever punished for vomiting? – no
Please describe the “homeless” (Observation & Assessment) experience. How did you feel about this? – Tough. Too much isolation wasn’t good for me.
But I did like some of the hikes.
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? – yes; they would get invited to rob/sherries house.
Where you aware of anyone being restrained and isolated from the group? – yes; two occasions (but I didn’t personally witness it)
What reasons were these people restrained? (please describe actual events) – not cooperating with staff instructions
Where stress positions utilized? Were there more time in isolation given if the student would move, cry or speak? – didn’t see anything
(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? – yes; they read an email i sent; also read a letter i recieved (which is why i was kicked out of the program).
they denied reading the letter.
How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – yes they were fully monitored. could not speak to them until i got off unemployment; took me 2.5 weeks
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? – NO!
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? – yes!
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? – I was watched by higher ups before. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was interesting; on multiple instances I realized that a lot of the higher ups were putting on an “act” so they could get home. I realized this when I was with upper levels and staff wasn’t present
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? – at times; not always
How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – unemployment could not speak with employment.
You cannot speak bad about the program what so ever!
I had a relative in there; was not allowed to speak to him specifically
Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – yes; (during hikes) everyone had to do pushups. i heard of the restraints but never actually saw iy
Would you be given a consequence if you forgot something? (for instance, a pen or a book) – no
Were your personal items inspected by other students? (upper levels?) without your consent or presence? – yes; a peer would read my journal entries
(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? – Depends on the situation:
Staff: decided if I had a positive/good day rating or a negative/bad day rating (unemployment), we needed 14 positive days and to be able to start a fire (bow drill) to reach “employment status”
Scott (Therapist/counselor) : Punished me and a peer with 1 month unemployment.
Rob (owner): Reduced our 1 month to 15 days
What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – They were allowed to supervise me without staff being present. Teach me the structure of the program, rules, and the bow drill, etc
Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – some upper levels were opportunists. they would provoke you to confide in them; and they would use those conversations against you to the staff. Some of the higher ups would politic to move up and keep others from progressing.
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? – rule book? don’t recall reading a rule book. some upper levels were opportunists. they would get you to confide in them; and they would use those conversations against you to the staff. Some of the higher ups would politic to move up and keep others from progressing.
Were you punished/ held back if you chose not to pass out citations, and opted to verbally warn students instead? – i never had the responsibility of giving out citations
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? – i don’t recall an isolation room. but once again: some upper levels were opportunists. they would get you to confide in them; and they would use those conversations against you to the staff. Some of the higher ups would politic to move up and keep others from progressing.
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? – yes; upper levels did give a glowing presentation when parents came or when parents of respect students came.
dont recall any videos
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? – yes; their was that type of power play. students were afraid it would take longer to get home.
When I was there, they had just started expanding. they had these new dorms built by the new cafeteria. Everyone moved expect for the unemployment students. I was unemployment at the time. We stayed in the old wooden cabin. We were allowed to be isolated without staff presence at night. I don’t think a lot of people knew this was going on; or maybe they were overwhelmed with the expansion. The unemployed students and I would express the displeasure and fear we had in reference to speaking against the program.
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? – This happened to several students. Each circumstance was unique.
What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of D.R.A? – I think Rob/Sherrie do have a passion for helping others. They are very likable and can be very warm and friendly and positive.
But I also believe they are well aware that this is a business and some things have to get swept under a rug. EX: there was an incident where 2 males engaged in oral sex; this led to one student attempting suicide. during a group meeting (Rob,Sherrie, Staff, students); Rob/Sherrie took the firm stance of this “allegedly happened.”
There was also a few incidents where staff made some unethical/irresponsible choices; these incidents were not accurately reported back to Rob/Sherrie.
Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – no; I went to another program a year later; that program benefited me tremendously.
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 & NO;
There were some really good staff members there and some that were horrible.
I was told by a upper level that they used to have a “wilderness program”. It was revoked because of some health violations; which may have been why they switched to “unemployment/employment program”
The system overall uses fear to obtain the desired incentive. This may work for some; but it isn’t for everyone. depends on the individual
Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at DRA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative?I remember it being a rough time in my life. Time heals all wounds. I remember things that happened there were not appropriate; sad to hear others have had similar experiences. But I did learn some positive stuff as well.