Friday, May 20, 2011

Being transported to Adirondack Leadership Expeditions (Testimony)

This testimony is about a typical transport from New York to a program within the same state:

Voices from the GULAG

My name is Richard Meehan. I attended three different programs starting at 4:15AM on October 23rd, 2003 to April 21st, 2005. I attended ALE (Adirondack Leadership Expeditions), ASR (Academy at Swift River), and DA (Discovery Academy). I was woken up at exactly 4:15AM on Oct 23rd.

I live in New York City and a 7ft tall native American man opens the door to my room and turns on my light. I see my parents standing behind him and another 6ft 3 in guy behind them. At first I thought I was getting robbed. Then he said "Were from Right Direction, we're here to take you..." I would have tried to run but considering i lived on the 5th floor of my building, i decided against going out the window. I immediately realized my situation. The guy told me to get on my clothes, which i did, after he thoroughly searched through them. He took me by the belt loop of my pants downstairs on the elevator. I was still in shock, i did not know what to think or do. My doorman was on the elevator and walked over to the door to open it. The expression on his face was of pure shock. When I saw him I had my teeth grinding kind of like a grin except it was not.

They told me on the way down that they would treat me fine if i did not resist. If i did, they said they had plenty of restraints to put me in and that they had handcuffs and footcuffs that they would use if "necessary". I felt trapped, there was nothing i could do. I did not consent to this.

After a five or six hour drive we arrived in the Adirondack mountains. I remember being taken out of the car and up to the room where the director of the program was. About eight staff members were standing around me in the room and they asked me a bunch of questions about how i felt. I didn't't't feel particularly good at the moment and then the drove me out to a forest.

The rest of the story can be read at the source

Additional sources:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A story about High Impact (Testimony)

This is a partial reblog of Caroline Elise's experiences about being transported to a so-called motivation boot camp in Mexico, which enjoyed a lot of respect among counselors and educational consultants around the millenium. However it was later shut down by the authorities. The full story can be read on the blog of Secretprisonsforteens, which is a Danish Human rights organization.

A story about High Impact

It was a Friday.

I remember because I was in my bathroom getting dressed to go to my friend Lorina’s house. I had just turned 15 two weeks before I was taken. My mom and grandmother picked my best friend Alyssa and I up at the bus stop and took us over to get frappuccinos from Starbuck’s. We window shopped at a near by boutique and shortly after went home. My grandmother was in from North Carolina for a visit, so I assumed it was just a nice, normal time with family. Little did I know it was to distract me so that a man and woman could hide in my house to kidnap me. Alyssa and I made plans to hang out later and we said our goodbyes; I had no idea, but it would be for years.

My mother was going through a divorce so our home in Texas was up for sale. While I was in my bathroom, on the phone, getting dressed my mother knocked on the door and told me there were some buyers that wanted to look at my bathroom. I walked out into my connecting bedroom and there stood a towering, muscular man with a long black pony tail. I thought he wanted to buy my house at first, but all of a sudden he very quickly rushed me and threw my phone against the wall. He tackled me on my bed and I started screaming for my mom, but no one came. He then started explaining to me that I was going with him to Mexico and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I was so confused, scared, and shocked so I tried to run. In came another woman I had never seen and they held me down and hand cuffed me on my bed. Crying and screaming they drug me out of my room and down the stairs. At some point my instinct told me to try to get away while we were going down the stairs. I started fumbling with the hand cuffs and realized that they were fake. I tried to time it just right so we could be at the bottom of the stairs so I could run. At this point my mother and grandmother were blocking me, but I managed to get out of the hand cuffs and throw a coffee pot. The big man tackled me and forced me into the back of a rental car. He told my mom to grab belts to hog tie me, because I was kicking and screaming and trying to get away. By this time I knew my mom was in on this and I was tied up. I saw Alyssa through the front window of the car crying with her mom. I think her mom had explained what was going to happen to me when we got home from Starbuck’s.

He then started explaining what was going to happen to me. He said that I was going to boot camp so that I can be good, that it was in Mexico, and we were going right then. He told me that we are driving there and unless I wanted to drive from Texas to Mexico this way that I need to stop trying to escape. Tired, scared, and coming to the realization that I was trapped, I agreed. I said my pleading goodbyes tearfully to my mother and grandmother, and we drove away. I immediately and not obviously started thinking of ways to escape from this child locked backseat. I am 15, I have no money or resources, and I’ve just been kidnapped by some greasy 6 plus foot, prison looking man whose name was Charlie. I don’t remember what they woman’s name was, but she was pregnant. I know because during the struggle I had kicked her several times in the car and remember actually feeling bad about it. I asked her why she would have this kind of job in her condition, and she just replied that she was bored and needed the money. Years later looking back at that statement I guess she liked doing it. For hours we drove and they asked me if I was hungry. I wasn’t but I wanted to get the car stopped so I could have some kind of chance to get help. When he got to the drive through I thought of screaming for help. They had trusted me enough at this point to let me have my window down and I started trying to eye ball the handle of the outside to escape. The woman saw my eyes or something because she rolled it up quickly and locked it. I didn’t eat that night… I just couldn’t. I was getting over the flu so we stopped and go some cold medicine and they let me use that bathroom. After I took the medicine I just passed out all night.

When I awoke all I could see where red mountain rocks, and sunshine. We were in the middle of no where, no cars, no buildings, just giant red mountains. Even though I was being kid napped I can still remember thinking how beautiful it was. We continued to drive for hours just talking; I don’t really remember what about except he told me that he knew it wasn’t all my fault. He said that my grandmother had told him that my mom was an alcoholic and just isn’t doing well with me. The more we talked the more I grew to like them; I think the more they grew to like me. Finally we arrived at the border and there was a payless shoe store with a pay phone outside. Charlie allowed me to call my mom and she picked up. I cried and begged her to let me come home but she told me it was the best thing for me and I was going. Apparently they weren’t supposed to let me call her because it was against the rules; I never asked why he let me but I think it’s because he understood better. We got back in the car and drove across; I don’t know how we got in seeing as though I never had a passport and still don’t to this day. I don’t remember how much farther we drove but we came to a long dusty road until we hit a giant, twenty foot, chain gate. The gate had to huge doors that opened up so we could drive inside, and I wasn’t allowed out until they were shut and locked.

Charlie and the woman had never taken anyone to this particular facility so they couldn’t give me any information on the program. They told me they would stay with me for a while and we were greeted by one Mexican named Papa Miguel and two Mexican women. It was a large dirt track covered in sand and little pebbles and on the side what seemed to be a broken down couch or back seat of a car. There was no roof over this huge chain gate facility and on one side there were two big chain doors that lead into the boy’s side and one to the girls. We opened the gate and I heard a loud, angry, Spanish voice scream “swaylo.” All around me I saw girls immediately hit the deck with their arms over their heads; Some girls were laying in the dirt so I was really confused. This part looked similar to the track part except it had a big, hunter green, cloth tent with a concrete slab in the middle. The sides of the tent were rolled up and inside was a bench table and suit cases lined up and down the sides. The girls were called out of “swaylo position” and lined up to get there mats out. They all sat down and just began staring at the floor. Along the sides out side the tent there were four of five dog cages with sand and rocks on the bottom. There was also a concrete outside bathroom out of a horror story. It had no door and had only cold water. The three showers were divided by small concrete walls and a big drain in the middle. Also there were two dirty sinks and three toilets with trash cans beside of them because it was not equipped to flush paper. Beside the bathroom was another fence to hang what I guessed to be was a clothing line and a hole cut out in the wall where the women stayed at night while we slept. Along the fence and tent were lines raked in different directions to show us where we shouldn’t be stepping, which we did as part of morning chores. The kidnapers and I sat down at the bench and Papa Miguel called one of the girls over to start explaining the rules to me. She was considered trusted to be able to help the workers because she was leaving in a few days. She was young, maybe 14, wearing purple sweats which I thought was strange because it was so hot. They make you wear them all day while running and at night when its freezing cold you must earn your warmth. She looked almost scared to look into my eyes and asked Papa Miguel for permission to roll up her sleeves. She was granted permission and began explaining the rules.

  • No talking to anyone for any reason
  • No looking anywhere but the floor at anyone, anywhere for any reason.
  • You can not burp, go to the bathroom, roll up your sleeves, stand up, or move without permission.
  • You will be marching (running laps on the track) for four hours a day, in sandals.
  • You must complete 2,000 laps to graduate this program and everything you do wrong will result in laps you have earned being taken away (thus being farther away from going home).
  • You will have chores, exercise, and six hours a day of Alcoholics anonymous tapes, accompanied by worksheets of each tape.
  • She explained to me when you are bad you will be sent to the dog cages until you comply and must remain in what they referred to as R.R position on your chin and not be able to count the laps you run for the day if you are lucky enough to get out.
When she finished Charlie and the women got up. They looked shocked too. They told me they felt bad about leaving me there and I started crying because I have grown to find what little comfort I had left with them. They hugged me goodbye and I was shown to my cut out piece of carpet mat.

The rest of her story can be read on the blog of Secret Prisons for Teens

Other sources:
Datasheet about High Impact on Fornits

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Want Your Troubled Kid To Disappear In The Middle Of The Night (From West Virginia News)

West Virginia News published this article February 2011. All rights belong to the author Jack Swint. It was part of 3 part feature of the industry.

Want Your Troubled Kid To Disappear In The Middle Of The Night

Part 2 of 3... Teen Transport Industry May Cause Infliction Of Emotional Distress By Jack Swint - Publisher

“Jonathan screamed, and then he was silent." What did that mean, she wondered? Was he reassured as they said he would be? Or did they do something to him. She couldn't take it any longer and opened the door. Just then she saw them - two large men, one small child - she looked hard and realized her son was in handcuffs. His head turned and their eyes met. She ran to him, sobbing, but Rob pulled her away. She was able to swipe her hand over his face as she yelled she was sorry and that she loved him.”… Mother of teen extracted from home at 3 am by paid teen transport agents.

The general public is becoming more aware of the facilities for troubled teens that have popped up across the country over the past decades. Residential programs such as therapeutic boarding schools, treatment centers, boot camps and wilderness programs work with these teens while taking them out of their immediate environment where peer pressure and other negative influences might interfere with the therapeutic process.

Many of the students who attend these specialized private boarding schools need the focus, individualized attention, and professional intervention offered by these programs.

Over the past few years, the media and US government has been thoroughly investigating the mounting number of complaints and accidents that have caused abuse and even death to the teens who are in these programs. Some facilities we have investigated, appear on the surface to be either following the mandated rules and guidelines, or are adjusting their curriculum to do so.

But, there has not been any real focus on how some of these kids physically, and emotionally, arrive to these treatment centers that can be thousands of miles from their home.

Personally delivering your child could be difficult for any parent, especially when they already know the environment and curriculum that their loved one is about to embark on. If you’re not emotionally up to having to take your son or daughter to one of these places, there is an expensive and sometimes dangerous alternative.

You can hire a “teen escort service” to come into your home at 3am in the morning, and extract your child, preferably while they are sleeping, out to an awaiting vehicle that transports them to the pre-destined treatment program across the country. And, the old saying... “you can go easy, or you can go hard,” does mean just that.

According to one child psychologist we spoke to, this type of ordeal to a teen can cause everlasting trauma that includes emotional distress and trust issues with the parent(s). For the parent, it crosses moral and legal issues that could include negligence, child abuse, false imprisonment and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Transport Process… Deceiving or a Needed Tool.

According to industries standards, here is a scenario of how these transport companies pick up and deliver your child...

Keep everything at home as normal as possible, do not tell your adolescent what you are planning. If you have other children in your home, keep their routines as normal as possible and above all, where they are concerned, do not take them into your confidence and let them know what you are planning.

Prior to picking up the teen, completed forms will include everything from personal information, to medical needs and emergency contact information. Signed releases by the parent(s) and payment.

Agents will arrive at the residence in the early morning hours (3 a.m)to insure that the youth is at home, and preferably in bed asleep. The parents meet the Agents at the front door with the clothes for the child to wear during the transport, any luggage, our paperwork, fee and contracts for the school, if applicable.

These items will be placed in the car. Parents then take the Agents back to the child's room, wake him/her up, and introduce the Agents and tell them that you love them and that the Agents are there to take them to school. The parents should then go to a part of the house as not to be seen by the child. This allows full attention of the child to the Agents. (And keeps emotions down in case the agents need to restrain the teen)

Restraints are within the staffs reach if the child is uncooperative. This consists of at least handcuffs and tear gas/pepper spray. Agents do instruct the child that if they are uncooperative, force can be used.

Agents will get the child dressed and take them directly out to the car. They are usually placed in the back seat with the child locks on and one Agent will sit beside them. At this time they will proceed to the destination as quickly as possible. They will usually call the parents as soon as they have delivered the child to the program.

It appears to be policy that the child have no outside contact until they arrive at the program. It is very important to remove them from the surroundings that they are comfortable in as quickly as possible, this makes them more dependant on the Agents and less likely of an attempt to run.

The alternative extraction is in broad daylight. According to Cori, “These guys came to my school and put me in handcuffs...They took me outside to the car and I could see all my friends with their faces against the window, watching these guys take me away. I was crying, saying I was being kidnapped. My mom said, ’No, its OK honey, it’s called goober-napping.” A slang term for kidnapping.

Who Are These Transport Agents

Agents come from various backgrounds including law enforcement, teachers, health professionals and other youth authority backgrounds, specializing in extreme behavior and substance abuse. They are suppose to be carefully recruited and undergo extensive training in areas of crisis management, verbal and non verbal communication techniques, personal safety and client control. All are required to be insured and bonded.

But, as with any industry, we also discovered that some companies will contract employees in other states that they have never met or trained. In a quick records search, we found media stories that included agents who not only have criminal histories, (including sexual abuse) but have also been arrested while transporting teens and charged with unlawful imprisonment and assault that was the result of one agent beating a child while they were handcuffed behind their back.

Psychological Concerns In The Transport Industry

If you’re going to use one of these services, here is some factual and helpful information about the psychological effects this may have on the child. On the parent. And on the overall relationship as a family?

According to a routine extraction, the parents are allowed to wake the child themselves and introduce the child to the escorts, then they have to leave the room while their kids have to strip down in front of strangers and get dressed. And, depending on how the process goes, the child could also be restrained and extracted under further duress.

We found some companies have a security policy of using handcuffs in every case regardless of their behavior. Children have reported they were handcuffed and/or pepper sprayed just for crying. Some don’t use restraints at all. One thing is for sure, if one of these agents shows up at your home, your loved one is going away. The easy way, or hard.

Psychologically, will the child forever feel abandoned or betrayed by the parent? Some legal authorities feel that these kids are actually being kidnapped; and no matter what they do, he or she will be removed from their home by strangers.

In one case, a transport agent reported back to 17 year old Valerie Ann Heron’s mother that the trip went smoothly. According to Heron's mother, the transport agent played his role well. "He made her feel comfortable with him. She trusted him. He talked to her about what to expect, where she was going," the mother also said. "She gave him a hug when she left him."

The day after that hug, Valerie rushed out of a second-floor classroom and jumped to her death off a 35-foot-high balcony.


Transporting a child can cost up to $6,000 depending on the amount of travel needed and incidental costs such as rental cars, motels etc. One company actually posts costs on their website (linked below) which offers flat rates.

The average pick up and drive to location plus airfare is $1,600. Driving only, $695.00 to $2,495.00. Private charter flights average $1,000 to $5,500. Credit cards are accepted, and Pay Pal too. All payments are due when the agents arrive at your home.

Also, according to reports, the cost of the transport can be included in the total package of an educational student loan.

In Closing,

Parents in the United States are able to hire escort companies to transport their troubled children from home to teen residential programs, wilderness therapy programs, boarding schools, boot camps and behavior modification programs.

The contract between the escort company and the parents include temporarily assigning parental rights and authority to the company for the duration of the transport from point A and point B. Though there are some escort companies that are legitimate and that do not abuse children, there are those that use less than appropriate tactics. The business is unregulated in the U.S.

The psychological and legal implications have not been addressed by state or federal governments. Taking in account the probable long lasting trauma from this type of transportation, to a facility that in itself is an environment that claims to restructure behavior to teens that are considered “troubled,” is troublesome.

Is it an easy way out for the parent who doesn’t want to have to endure the emotional strain on them of not only delivering up their child to one of these facilities, but also drive them there. It’s a tuff enough decision to send your kid to one of these last resort programs, but getting them there can be even worse. Especially if the person is unwilling to go.

These transporters come into your child’s safe environment, (home) and in most cases, are in bed asleep. Suddenly awakened, disoriented and scared. They are directed to strip down and re-dress in front of complete strangers who then escort them quickly out of their home (either restrained or not) and whisked away.

It appears that even if the transporter is professional in his or her job function, the child is going to still be traumatized just because of the “shock and awe” of it all. That is the concern that needs to be addressed. What will be the short and long term effect on the entire family?

This is nothing more than a reverse to the process families use in hiring trained men and women who extract children out of religious cults and back to the safety of their loved ones and home.

End Of Story….

Jack Swint – Publisher
West Virginia News