Monday, January 14, 2008


Imagine being a parent, having a troubled teen and not knowing what to do or where to go for help. You stumble upon an ad or some information somewhere introducing this facility in beautiful Jamaica. The ad and/or Tranquility Bay website reads like the answer to your prayers and the best thing for your child. It's everything you think your child needs AND they will have the wonderful cultural experience of being in Jamaica.

This is the experience of one of the students who attended Tranquility bay. To read the whole story click here.

"By habit, I was already awake before the screaming began. As soon as the wake up call started, I quickly reminded myself that I had become a machine, and I wasn't really there. The silent commotion began immediately. Two hundred young men spilled out into the hallway and outside into the courtyard to line up for headcount...

The guard stood in the center of the room until the case manager came in, carrying a plastic chair. She sat down, and for half an hour we were allowed to ask questions about our family and express medical concerns. We were not allowed to inquire about release dates. I told the case manager about my ringworm and the liver spots. A few more people complained about scabies and sprained muscles. She wrote everything down in her blue notebook and promised that it would all be taken care of. I knew she was lying..."

"If I was careful, I could sneak a chapter from The Grapes of Wrath, but if I were caught I would be placed in Staff Watch and on my face for a few days..."

Read the story and you be the judge. But before you make you call, read also the story of a parent who in her moment of desperation feels she was taken in by the hype.

Quoted from her story at

I brought my child home and when she felt confident I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. The stories were very consistent with many others I was hearing and reading about. My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, we are recovering from this traumatic experience in our lives. My child was suffering from depression and nightmares from the stay at Carolina Springs Academy. The fear of being sent back, had created suicidal thoughts, however the excellent psychologist helped my child through this horrible post experience of WWASP. I have heard from many other post-WWASP students and families suffering from the same symptoms, which is very sad.

Want to see something interesting? Click Here. This is supposed to be the page for Student Activities with a long list of activities and events but as you click on each on there is only one picture of a man and woman thanking them for helping their child. Where are the photos?

WWASP - World Wide Association of Specialty Programs. Tranquilty Bay and Carolina Springs Academy are only two of the Program under WWASP.

Here's the deal. Is sending a child to boot camp the answer to a problem child and if so, how much is to much? Are they helping or hurting them? If you want to send your child to get help with their problems is this what you would really want for them? The child I quoted and referenced links to stated she was in trouble for selling LSD. Was what that child went through the answer? Are these people who run these programs really trying to help or simply making money off of someone else's problems?

We are not all the same, we cannot all be treated the same. Anyone with children will tell you that you only need look at one child to make them retreat and with another you must take it the whole ten yards to make your point. Can a facility such as these treat all troubled children the same? They are children and if child abuse is not tolerated in homes by the government, why should such facilities be allowed to treat children this poorly and get paid for it?

Please read the articles I linked to. At least be aware. Many of the WWASP facilities have been raided and closed down.

There are much better and more intense must-see videos on a friend's blog at

You can alos check out these links F.Y.I. - both pro and con.


iriegal said...

Perhaps because this is my homeland, and I find it to be the "dirty secret" inside the beauty, I take this very seriously. Sadly the politicians, and local officials in the United States, turned a blind eye and bascically forgot these kids.

You should not have to send your child to another country to seek the help they should be able to get in the United States.

As you stated pros and cons. Were the parents bad? No, were they misled? yes in many cases.

Did the Jamaican government profit. Yes they did.

Who won? no one Who lost? those kids who suffered and the parents who live through the guilt daily

Anonymous said...

I did not see these things at TB. My son has become a human being there. He loves the staff. He says no one has ever laid a hand on him. I have visited twice and I have the upmost respect there.

Anonymous said...

i was at TB my name is schuyler schmid. if you want some insite into the daily lives of us at tb see my post on antiwwasp. this place is inhuman and has put me through physical human toture which i had to get counsuling for. it cost my parents more for the counsuling than the school. you decied. i now have PTSD and will have it forever thanks to this place.

Anonymous said...

i was in tb for 2 1/2 years my parents visted me twice two i said they never did anything wrong ... I WAS BRAIN WASHED AND TO SCARED TO SAY ANYTHING this place still hunts me and my dreams on a daily baises i hate my parents to this day i have been out since 2001 my parents thought are relationship was getting better it wasnt till i got out and after i could think for my self that my rage anger and hate for them started to emerge if your child is in there pull them out if they need help get it for them but do your research ...unlike you did for this place!!!!!! or you will regret it. As i make sure my do every chance i im the girl who laid on her face for 18 months yha it did soooo much good for me i have no relationship with my parents i am in college about to get married and no they are not invited they gave me up for two and a half years why do they need to be in my life now when i really needed them they left me in a place that i was physically and mentally abused oh and in all the time i was there i got one credit for high school... this is a bad place if you do love your child and want to be a part of there life pull them now or dont but remember this is your choice and remeber you made it can you live with that

Mari said...

I'm marking 10 years home from Tranquility Bay. I was sent their from 98-99. I am still dealing with Post Traumatic Stress from it. I still have nightmares. It is unfortunate that parents send their children away when what the children need most at that time is to know that their parents are there for them as they are going through one of the hardest changes in their lives (self discovery and the beginning of adulthood). I have children and understand the challenge that parenting offers, but why is it we can make commitments to our marriages of for better or worse with our spouses but not the people who rely on us in the most to learn to love themselves. In order to grow into confident, functional members of society children really need to know that their parents are there for them no matter, and having been sent to Jamaica myself I can tell you first hand you feel rejected by your parents, and that they just don't want to deal with you anymore. Fact is you weren't perfect parents and you expect your children to forgive you for your shortcomings and certainly when you reach old age you will possibly rely on or expect your children to help take care of you, or still visit you, so why do you turn your children away in their time of need.

I can be reached if anyone wants advice, or to hear my experience. My email is babayaga 08 at (just remove the spaces and replace "at" with "@"). I am sure that you are going through a hard time and are looking for help, or you wouldn't consider sending your child somewhere to get that help, but ultimately for them to get that help in a constructive way you are going to have to buckle down and get ready to get your own hands wet in this process. It will be daily work for you as it will be for your children but you have to be doing it.. not paying someone else to do it for you (unless of course you are going to family therapy).. but honestly I think setting your child up with a therapist they trust will do much more good than sending them away.. they just need someone to talk to and to know they have family (or friends) they trust to fall back on in such a pivotal time in their lives.

This will all come to pass just as all cycles of growth and development in everyone's lives do. They wont be 50 and still going through this. Be there for your kids and commit to being their for them (and giving them some freedom to grown and make their own mistakes). The support you are able to offer can make all the difference in how stable they feel during these changes in their lives, and if you stay dedicated and determined they will thank you one day.

Unknown said...

I was at TB in 99-01 in the Honor Family. While there for 9 months I turned 18 and demanded my release to the United States. These pictures are real and I saw first hand the Observation Placement(OP)and the screaming at night. I also believe that my parents where mislead to what the program actually was too. I have not heard anybody say this but the worst thing for me was when I first arrived level one were not allowed to talk to another level with out a level three present. I did not talk to anyone for the first two months I was there unless it was a one or two of my shares in the Honor family group time. The other thing was TB was holding me while I was an adult and I did not have a passport. They eventually took me to the embassy in Kingston, held a white towel behind my head and took a Polaroid to get my picture for the passport. In the end I think they were there to actually make money. What a great business model, abuse the kids and steal from the parents. Like anything I made the best of the small things and made it through. I hope everyone that was at TB is now on their way in life and occasionally remember that time spent in Jamaica remembering the good time.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

2009 became the year where the truth came to the knowledge of parents. Several of their "schools" are shut down.

Today we have:

Red River Academy, Lecompte, Louisiana
Sunset Bay Academy, Rosarito, Mexico
Cross Creek Programs, La Verkin, Utah
Nevada Horizon Academy, Pahrump, Nevada

Maybe Majestic Ranch, Pillars of Hope and a Wilderness program called Star Peak Crossing is working also.

What seem to be the biggest problem right now is that the victim list is growing because many of the former prisoners in their programs cannot live the the experiences in the long run.

Anonymous said...

i was at tb for almost three years.i begged my parents to take me out,but never did until it shut down.that place was hell.u talk about abuse,that place abused students in every way.parents should not send their kids to places like that.all it did for me was make me hate my parents even more for sending me there and making me be was a nightmare and us students that were there will never forget what all we had to go thru.i personally think that people who said it helped them(very few)are just fooling themselves.they were programized and brainwashed.if anyone has any questions about that program my email address is would be happy to answer any questions about that place.i was in program s for 5 years straight so i know a lot about them.

Anonymous said...

I spent a year in Tranquility Bay where on my first day I was assaulted by staff and on many occasions there after. I was given no means of communication with the outside world with the exception of letters which were read through by staff. If anything was written that would reveal the nature of the facility it was thrown out. During my stay I became aware of a lump which began to grow on my neck. I alerted staff, nurses, and case managers alike. Every time I did so I was told not to bother them with such nonsense. That nonsense turned out to be Hogkin's Lymphoma. Which ruined my senior year of high school, because of this i had to endure months of chemo and radiation. I was also beaten on many occasions by staff causing me to urinate blood from being repeatedly kicked in the kidneys. This I also reported and showed the nurse and was told that maybe i should shut up and lay quietly face down on the tile next time. The stories I could tell you would chill the core. Imagine going to sleep every night hearing the screams of fellow students. Where the only way to get to sleep is to hope that their vocal chords become raw, so much so that they can no longer yell and plead for the pain to stop. Or you become so accustomed that the screams become like the waves that hit the shore. A repetitive background noise. Parents say that is not the image the saw when visiting the facility. Their given the impression of structure obedience and compassion. Every thing relaxes during visitation days. The food improves (you won't find any pig penis in your soup on those days. Not necessarily unhealthy but I was under the impression that my meals weren't a fear factor audition), personal liberties given, extra time to work out, read, and play cards(which are typically banned). Yes you can complain and try to open someones eyes, but would it really only change your knowledge of how much pain you can feel at a single moment from your various extremities. Let alone the student speaking appears to be acting out in comparison to the others enjoying their break from chaos. Looking back it seems like a dream. A nightmare, so much so that describing it in depth raises doubt in those who haven't experienced. A story so darkly corrupt that it could only happen in some pre-millenium totalitarian eastern European government.

Questions? Comments? Email me at

J. Garth Swartley said...

My daughter was at Tranquility Bay for 13 months from 1997 - 1998 having progressed through all six levels of the program. She was never abused or suffered any of the poor treatment others have claimed. Although she does not see her time there as fun, she still thanks me to this day for sending her there to straighten out her life. Now at age 28, she has become a wonderful person, wife, and mother and we have an outstanding relationship. I few years ago I told her leaving her at Tranquility Bay was the worst day of my life. Her reply was "Well it was the best day of my life and it changed my life".

Anonymous said...

I was at Tranquility Bay for 7 1/2 months back in 1997 until I turned 18. So today I decided to google TB and to no surprise I see all these postings of horror stories.I saw the pictures of the boys on the floor and I was speechless, "Ive been there, right there" I call it a compound. I feel every American Right I was born to was taken away.You mean I can't speak without permission, I can't go to the bathroom unless i raised my hand and called on..IF I WAS CALLED ON..depending on the mood of the dominate Jamaican woman. Everything you hear is TRUE..I always knew that' Jay guy was a scum bag.. letting the level 6 girls in his room with no monitoring.and just to think I have a higher education than him. come one people its basic psychology. and he had none of it. I do believe our parents were blindsided by the 'wonderful, tropical video' being fed lies. and all for what to destroy kids so they can profit, and when I say profit I mean just that at $2000.00 dollars a month per child. OMG..and just to think that I couldnt even get a phone call from my parents but once a month unless I was on the appropriate level to do so. Thankl god I survived and my sympothy goes out to a couple of girls that I met there which where under the age of 15 thinking they would be there for a long time, I atleast had my 18th birthday to look forward to. I do remember one brilliant and charming girl named Sara Wood, she was my big sis. she made things better in a sence.oh and by the way after 7 1/2 months of supposed schooling I only received 3 credits towards my junior year of supposed high school. Today Im doing well Going to college for my RN and I have a beautiful daughter. and yes I forgave my parents for sending me to Jamaica.

P.S. TB is lucky I didnt die from the taxi ride there(no speed limits).I almost had a heart attack. If you would like to contact me:

Thanks for listening,


Stephanie Bolden

Anonymous said...

I was a student of the now closed Tranquility Bay for a duration slightly less than 2 years. While my memories of the school are clear and very unpleasent it was none the less valueable. Many of my fellow classmates will chastize me for saying that but there is reason. While I would not ever send my children to a program like TB I am to a extent greatful for the lessons about myself I garnenred from the experince. I can honestly say that via the harshness of the program in which many of us encountered we will likely never again in our lives face a challenge to survival like that one. It has been likened to POW camps by some who would know. While there was violence the challenge lay more in the psychological aspects of survival. When once you have trode upon the campus at TB you can almost assuredly say that you can overcome just about any level of adversity. There is not more a hopeless feeling in the world other than being at rock bottom when in that program. Those who successfully survive that program at equipped with skill of survival on a mental endurance level unlike much else on the planet. At least to that extent I am truely greatful. When I found myself back on US soil I was emaciated, I had contracted TB Infection and I was more than less covered in leasions on my body. You can not truely appreciate life without a hardship experince like that one.

Gary T. Burnaska said...

I graduated US army BCT in 2009, that is not as bad as this. Parents should have knew something wrong when the founder is a College DROPOUT.

Anonymous said...

I love this place they teach you how ro survive. Thy even made you a birthday it was the best one I have ever taste I still talk about that cake .