Saturday, December 25, 2010

A very special Christmas greeting

All over the world children are right now not together with their parents on Christmas Eve. Removed from their parents and placed in residential programs for so-called treatment, they are robbed off their freedom. Very often not because they have committed any crime, very often just because they live on terms with the youth culture of 2010 parented by parents who base their values on the values from their own childhood, which were between 1960 and 1980.

Back then there was no Internet. The cold war had a deep impact on how we lived our lives. In general we had little knowledge of how other people lived their lives.

Today every teenager knows that the very people who make their music, their movies have problems on their own. They learn of the arrests, the drug use even before it is published in the newspapers we as parents buy down at the shop. They also learn of earth quakes, hunger, war and other cruel events on humanity minutes, sometime even seconds after such news happen.

Are they allowed to be worried? Are they allowed to show their frustration – to hit the wall or shout out their grief, show their anger?

No, because we have made some new moral standards where life is not allowed to hurt!
Here is our message to our children:

If life becomes too hard for you then there is a pill for it. If that pill does not work, we have a secluded place for you with a simple version of the normal life you so obvious cannot cope with.

So these children suddenly find themselves isolated from family and friends and they are not even given a trial so they can step up and explain their behavior.

Is it odd that some of them try to run away? That they find themselves in a so awful situation that an escape seems to be the only answer?

Of course not!

But the awful about such a situation is that it very easy becomes a criminal act where people – staff, neighbors or police officers - risk being victim of actions occurring during their escape.

Many parents tend to choose to place their children at a correctional boarding school as a pre-emptive choice so they can prevent their children from a life in crime - a choice which is easy to understand if the law looks at crime done by minors in the same way as a crime done by adult. If a society chooses to punish every day activity as drinking a beer with friends, then parents get scared. They recognize a juvenile court system not targeting helping the teenagers. The stories about horrible juvenile prisons and group homes with abuse are known. Cases where judges are paid off by owners of juvenile prisons are also known.

So the parents often turn to professionals which they believe would do a better job. However they are not aware how a certain recommendation is given. It is given based on a referral fee. Thousands of dollars changes owner and then a child is removed from the home.

When the children are locked away in residential treatment centers where the mix of staff is 1-40 when it comes to professional treatment specials compared to people earning minimum salary with an experience a few months out of the high school, they are very fast to adapt a subculture based on negative peer group experiences. It doesn’t matter how strict the rules are or how friendly the names of the teams and dorms sound. Sub-cultures will always form and the children will learn how to navigate in this system. Basically they will try to survive as any human being placed in an unfamiliar and hostile environment.

So when the residential treatment center shuts down for the day and leave a lonely night staff to supervise dozen of teenagers all over the treatment center, some of the children could choose to run. If they are discovered then they could choose to fight. When they are discovered by neighbors or the police they could choose to steal cars and run.

It was what did happen in Lumpkin County in Georgia where two girls named Daniella Albegiani and Julieann Vaughn fought a single staff member, took a car and tried to drive away from the police. They are now in jail and will spend their Christmas away from their family. The bond is low, but still they have not been picked up by their family. Why the parents are not present in the lives of their daughters? We can only guess how the parental responsibility is non-existing in this case.

These girls choose to do the crime because they were already doing the time. We cannot know whether the conditions in the local jail is better than at the correctional boarding school they attended, but research done on the internet tell a story which seem to indicate that their situation is basically the same with the difference that they now will get a criminal record due to their escape.

We must remember that while teenagers like these girls may not worsen their situation by going to jail instead of living in a wilderness program, private boot camp or a correctional boarding school, they did risk the health of the neighbors and police officers.

That’s why we as owners of private properties always have to ask questions when a private so-called treatment center wants to establish themselves next door. The police should ask that laws order the residential treatment centers to report every single incident of restraint and runaways. Only when the full extent of the operation is known to the public then the local community can know what they need to handle every time some of the children try to run.

Georgia needs to make new legislation. The staff member was hurt but the management of this correctional boarding school had to intend to report this act of violence before the police began their investigation. It was only when the police entered the boarding school that they learned the full story. It is wrong!

What also is wrong is that some states allow children in residential care when a correctional boarding school chooses to name their place something else. In South Carolina a correctional boarding school named Carolina Springs Academy was shut after a similar escape took place. Now they are trying to reopen as a Christian boarding school which demands no regulation. Why we have to ask? The risk for the neighbors is the same despite the name of the school.

We can only send a plea to the government of South Carolina to update the laws so a residential solution for minors shall answer to the same minimum standards despite what they choose to call their facility.

As for Miss Albegiani and Miss Vaughn we can only urge their parents to act like parents instead of being such of name only.

It is impossible to understand why the parents did choose to break up their family, but please reunite it in the name of humanity.

We must hope that 2011 will prove that residential placement of minors is a thing of the past. Problems start in the local community. They need to be fixed in the local community. If you doubt this please ask Miss Albegiani and Miss Vaughn. They are not worse off in the local prison compared to the school, but they would properly prefer not to have chosen to commit a crime suiting them doing the time.

Dear Albegiani and Vaughn

Merry Christmas to you and anybody else in that awful situation. We don't support your actions, but understand how you came to taking them. May you find your way to freedom and home in the end.


Inmate locator - Lumpkin County sheriff
Students charged with assault, robbery of teacher, The Dahlonega Nugget
Datasheet about Ridge Creek School on Fornits Wiki
School of Troubles: Another chance for abandoned boarding school, Independent Mail
Datasheet about Magnolia Hills Christian School

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why does children need to criminalize themselves before they can get a legal defence

This week two girls ran from a correctional boarding school in Georgia. They assaulted a lonely night staff member and took the car. The police got involved and it resulted in damage to a lot of property.

Now the girls are resting at the Lumpkin County Detention Center waiting for a trial where they are charged with aggravated assault, armed robbery, second degree criminal damage to property and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and armed robbery.

It is first now where they have hurt another person, done damage to property that they get what most people consider a basic human right. The right to a legal defense based on their actions.

They saw no lawyer before they were forced from their home to this school or even worse to a wilderness program as a step before entering the school. Wilderness programs which have claimed the lives of teenagers both in 2009 and 2010.

They saw no lawyer before they was denied communication with their peers back home or maybe even parts of their extended family who may not have agreed with the detention their parents had decided on.

Why are we pushing these kids into a corner where they see no other alternative to react in such a violent nature that the society have to charge them and supply them with a criminal record?

It is far from the first incident. Turn-about Ranch recognized from the Dr. Phil show did experience two staff members being beat up by three teenagers in 1994.

A case which caught national attention was when 3 pregnant teenagers escaped New Hope Maternity Home beating up the wife of the director as they feared that they would have become a part of the many adoption schemes which had been operating in the United States the last 3 decades.

However many of these cases are never known for the public. In the case from Georgia the boarding school did not report the assault. Why? They had a hurt employee!

The answer are simple: The parents pay for a product. They fear that the lifestyle of their child would end up in a criminal record at one point. In a society where 1 percent of the entire population is locked up in prison, this is a real risk. The school did choose to put the product over the safety of their employee. One employee to guard an entire dorm in a school that can house hundred of teenagers. It is close to neglect by it self!

So they order a pre-emptive arrest of their own child. They order a private youth transportation firm to collect their child in their own home in handcuffs and legirons. Then the child is sent to a remotely located boarding school if they are so lucky that they can avoid the boarding school.

No lawyer - no right to a trial - no defence.

And the worst part is that the supreme court has given parents this right if they just see to one thing. Every restraint, every physical force used against their child has to be done by a hired person. First then it is legal. If parents put their own child in handcuffs and force them to go, the parents will go to prison.

But for the child the abuse must seem to be the same. It doesn't matter who is doing this to them.

All kind of advice given by the parents are lost:

"Do not walk with strangers." Well when they cuff you on command by us parents, it is OK.

"We will protect you against all evil". Then you like poor Aaron Bacon, Sergey Blashchishen, Shanice Nibbs and many others die out in the desert where is the truth in this statement?

We are forcing these kids to violence when we neglect them in such a way.

There is no other solution than to get the Supreme court to reconsider their ruling and demand that every child has a right to a hearing at their local social services before they are removed from their home and sent to a boarding school, boot camp or wilderness program.

Every person should be entitled to a legal defense before they are removed from our society. Also and especially a child.

Students charged with assault, robbery of teacher, By Matt Aiken, The Dahlonega Nugget, December 1, 2010
3 teens sentenced for beating 2 counselors, Deseret News, Aug. 27, 1994
3 Pregnant Teens Attack Utah Group Home Director With Frying Pan, Flee in Stolen Van, FoxNews, January 19, 2007

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tell your boarding school story

You are now a young adult. You know where you came from. You know what your story is. But can you tell it?

Minors in residential placement research center has started a blog where you can tell your story.

A stay in a residential setting has its positive and negative sides. You meet a lot of people you would never have met if you had remained at home. Being a part of a peer group 24/7 in a restricted environment means that there is a price to pay. You know that you in order to survive have to fit in. You have to remove some of the personality which makes you an individual.

Then there of course are the rules of residential facility. They can be tough, they can be relaxed. Some of the rules were hard to justify. The reason for them may have been impossible to live under. Some made sense now where you are able to look back at them.

How did the stay impact you? Did it open some doors or did it close some? Does your family understand what you went through?

The Swedish organization want to hear your story and they want you to write one of their representatives on this address: jonase(a)

The blog itself can you read here:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweden has its problems of its own

We have been in contact with a small Non-govermental organization called "Minors in residential placement research center".

The organization was founded by officials working in public positions around Sweden. They prefer not to show their names.

Some Danes might remember the name Sofie Lohede. The Danish magazine called Ude & Hjemme did print her story some years ago.

It is a rather tragic story about a teenager from Sweden who did suffer from some emotional problems which led her family to reach out to the authorities for help. The so-called help they got was to send young Miss Lohede to a group home which practiced a special kind of supervision.

The older and more street-wise girls at the group home lured the then 14 year old girl out in town and there she was molested by a middel aged man.

Her family discovered that something was wrong and took her home. She confessed that she had been raped and had to testify against the man. Unfortunately she was so afraid of him that she did choose to end her life instead of confronting him in court. He was convicted to only 3 years based on evidence and a similar treatment of another girl.

The website also include a story of another girl and some legal articles.

They have promised to help us making people aware of the existense of the Academy at Sisters where we are involved in keeping a young girl from Hillsboro home and in freedom.

We will pray that we can enable our combined resources in the future.

Minors in residential placement research center

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sometime we don't know, sometimes we close our eyes

Our attention was just called to a new Spanish movie called Tranquility Valley. It is a movie about a father and a son going through a difficult period in their relationship.

Feeling that the problems with the family dynamics has gotten out of hand, the father decide to enroll his son in an education center, where they teach the children to control themselves. The father doesn't know how it is done and as the movie continues we see some horror not very unlike what has happened in real life several places in even countries being a part of the modern western world.

You may as a parent ask. If I cannot control my child and he is outgrowing me in strength, then what would it take to control him. Can it be done without some violence? Can it be done preserving the dignity of the child?

We would like to believe so. Every parent loves their children but sometime we fool ourselves.

When the Danish Television channel DR sent a documentary about children placed at Schuberts Minde many viewers didn't like what they saw. They didn't like that the staff told a child that he had to give up earrings given as a very personal gift from one of his parents. They didn't like that the staff didn't allow the child to wear clothes seen on a normal street in Denmark. The poor child lost out both his history and the identity he had built for his entire life. What the viewers failed to realize was that removing personal items and clothes is a important step to break down the spirit of a person you are about to confine in a strict and very regulated environment. Some places they dont stop with the clothes and jewelries. They remove the hair also in order to erase the identity further.

The drama in the Danish facility is far from what is to be seen in the movie but the emotional suffering is not. The real question is what institutionalized children carry with them once they are returning to freedom. The experience we have learned so far is not promising.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sometime the fight for human rights feels like a lost cause

As it has happened so many times before, a teenager approached the U.S. message board Fornits for help. The parents of a teenage girl called Morgan had given up any chances for local counseling and looked into an enclosed boarding school which markets them as a treatment center. Let me state. I have not visited the boarding school. I will not doubt that the mother of the girl visited a nice campus with horses and well-kept buildings. The specific treatment center called Academy at Sisters has two campuses. A campus they can use as a kind of showroom and a campus where new clients are kept until they adapt the guidelines of the school.

But as with all residential centers there are well-kept secrets. In Denmark a TV-program followed four teenagers at a Danish residential treatment center called Schuberts Minde. We saw one restraint and we saw how the teenagers were forced to remove personal items like earrings given to them by a parent as a very personal gift, clothing which are generally accepted in the public to be worn by even adults at work and we saw how they and their luggage were searched as if they were entering a prison. At the Danish residential treatment centers the psychological break down of the teenager was done calmly over an entire day. They did use hours quietly stating what they want and in the end they were able to persuade the teenager to lose his identity. Now they had a teenager with no resistance they could shape into their little enclosed world.

But there is a problem with this method. The teenager will need time to adjust back to the society now where his identity is nowhere useful in a modern workplace. Some of us are old enough to remember what happened once the wall came down and the two Germany’s united. The western Germany took over entirely. The main reason was that you had a population in East German who was like the teenagers at Schuberts Minde. Not ready to engage into their own destiny, with no long-term plans for their future. They were able to follow rules only.

The answer the residential centers give is that it will take time. It is a good answer – for the residential treatment centers. Residential treatment is 5-10 times more costly that any outpatient treatment. Places like Schuberts Minde charge the Danish society around 8-14,000 dollars per month to the Danish society. It can be done cheaper even in Denmark but then you replace trained counselors with untrained employees. In Denmark everybody can start a residential treatment center if they unite themselves with a few trained professionals. The cheapest of the residential treatment facilities tend to locate themselves in areas with large unemployment. There is oversight by the local authorities but the real security for the children is the local department of social security back home. The most skilled visit their clients to ensure that they don’t end up more damaged after the treatment than before. Sadly there is a lot room for improvement. A manager for a prison on Zealand told the press that the children in many cases could do better with time in prison because there are no national minimum standard and the teenagers he receives are destroyed and unable to function properly in a normal community.

But the parents of Morgan faces even bigger trouble than the parents typically face in Denmark. While the children in Danish residential treatment centers have a watchdog in the local department of social security the teenagers in U.S. treatment has none to come and visit them. The parents are given this task but often are they involved too closely in the treatment so they are unable to step back and look at the process from the outside.

The persons who should ensure human standards for the child placed in the program by holding on the only thing a residential treatment center respects – the money – are suddenly also a patient.

It is not wrong to treat the parents. Very often the parents are raising their child based on 20 to 30 years old experiences. 20-30 years back we had no internet, no cell-phones, no twitter etc. We didn’t have to worry about an earthquake on the other side of the world being thrown into our face in real-time. I remember my 2 year old daughter asking me why the towers fell on 9/11. Is people jumping out of a building to their deaths something to let a two year old watch? No, of course not but she saw it at a supermarket while we were shopping as I as a parent failed to realize that televisions were sold next to the toys. I was not aiming to destroy my child’s world that was built on a Disney like morale. It wasn’t the time where I wanted to tell her that humans can be evil too. But I failed as a parent that day and I had to take the consequences and teach her a lesson I was spared for until later in my life when I was child.

As a parent I early realized that I had to learn to parent a child after the millennium. I could not use the methods from my childhood, only the values I was raised by. It is here that many parents go wrong. It is possible to keep your values as a family while the methods are changed. You don’t need to throw it all away. An example is destruction of property. It was not acceptable to destroy property just it was boring when I was a child. It is certainly not acceptable for my children to destroy property just they are boring today. When I was bored I had to figure out that I could take my fishing rod and use some hours to angle. If my children are bored they have to figure out that they can turn on their computer or game console and spend some hours using them.

We can agree upon that childhood ends too soon. In many residential treatment centers we often hear of 15-17 years old children who play like in the old days. The childhood is artificial extended and it can be done because they are locked out of the real world. It does keep them safe, but it does not make them citizens ready to face the challenges of the modern world. The risk that they will go out in the world and act their adolescence out, when they are aged 20 or more is huge. Statistically people in the 20’s are more at risk in a modern society than teenagers.

You may ask what is wrong by delaying the chemical process teenagers go through with 5 to 10 years and the main problem is that the brain of people at that age does not accept mortality. Once they are legally adults they fool themselves to believe that they have to make it without parental guidance. They have access to things that demand a brain which has been through the restructure of the brain a teenager undergoes. To operate a car demands a mature brain. It demands that the driver has cured the curiosity of experimenting with alcohol. Otherwise we risk experiments with driving under influence and tragedies when people are killed as result of these experiments.

Once a child reaches the age of 18 certain aspects of live has to have been experienced if we want to create a responsible adult. The task of a parent is to give guidance through this tough period of the entire family unit. Guidance is many things and it is not friendship. It is a mix of giving consequences, empathy, teaching and love. It is properly the toughest task any human can take on. You have no guidebook, you have no answer book.

Morgan’s parents are in the middle of it and they reached out. We must all praise the parents who accept that they have limitations and reach out for help. It must never be shameful to ask for help. We are talking of the most costly resource our society produce – our children. No effort can be too much to help a family unit to function. The optimal solution would have to be to look at the family unit at the very place where it should function – at the home. Only when we are talking of illness among the adult members of the family unit or the parents choose to opt out of the role as a parent the question should be asked whether it is the right place for the children to live. In any other situation the problem started in the family unit and it should be solved in the family unit.

The parents of Morgan reached out. They got poor counseling which recommended them that Morgan should be removed from the family unit. Morgan found out because her parents in general were among those who have good values which enables them to include Morgan about the advices the professionals gave them. It is important as a parent to be honest. If you are angry with something your child has done tell them why you are disappointed. Don’t shout it. It is not a good idea to teach your child how a good barrier of communication is constructed. There are parents who cannot engage in communication. In the United States parents with little or poor communication skills can hire a firm to remove a child from the home in handcuffs and shackles and send them to a residential treatment center of their choice.

Morgan also reached out by use of Yahoo Answers and Fornits. Morgan seems to be a teenage girl with plans for her future. She has plans for her career; she was plans for visiting foreign cultures. While she like most teenagers are challenged by the chemical changes in her brain, she has sent signs through her writings letting the readers know that she is doing more than just living in the present. She might make poor choices in the daily life but it is exact there where the guidance comes into the picture. It was clear for everyone that there was something to build upon; something which could excel over time.

Sadly she got far from good counseling. At Fornits you find many who have been sent to residential treatment centers when they were children. But it is not all. They were guinea pigs for treatment methods where many have since been banned and sadly also many treatment methods which were just refined but still included methods which would be a criminal offense in many countries. It did cause damage. Fornits does also include poster working for the industry trying to downplay the history of residential treatment. It is difficult to explain how frustrated the survivors are just because they don’t have physically evidence of the damage the so-called treatment has caused. Had they just received a lobotomy then it would be like clear evidence before the court of time.

The problem with Fornits is that the present of the lobbyists from the modern industry is like a red cloth before their faces. The most extreme of the survivors do hold their parents accountable because they pay for their torment. They fail to realize that their parents failed their jobs as parents because they were poorly guided by not only the professionals at the program but also by politicians using youth crime and so-called antisocial behavior to be re-elected. The last 30 years of experiments at residential programs will be something the society will have to pay for the next 50 years.

Some show Morgan’s parents as evil and they decide to create a page targeted against the parents. I have difficulties how to find words for this action. I cannot condemn it enough. While the parents have received poor guidance they don’t need to be attacked in this way.

Morgan came for help. She wanted to know what kind of boarding school the Academy at Sisters is. She wanted to know what to expect. Here is some basically guidelines:

Once you arrive at the residential facility the staff needs to ensure that you focus on the subculture they want you to live in. It is restricted compared to what you have been used to. Things like music, television, cell-phone and Internet you have been used to at home will not be present in the facility. It will be called contrabands regardless of how innocence your use of these items is. You have to understand that they want you to focus on their guidelines and it means that every kind of distraction must be removed. Because the student manual unlike normal boarding schools is missing on the homepage we cannot tell you if earrings and your own clothes will have to be removed also in order to ensure complete focus. We also don’t know if they believe that contraband can be hidden inside the body. At some residential treatment centers they check for it, at others not.

Your parents will be told that you need some time to adjust and the contact to them will be a distraction for you. At some treatment centers this time can turn out to be months or even close to a year, at some places this time may be a months. General guidelines from professionals here in Denmark are that no child can keep out their appearance for more than 14 days. At some point they will test the boundaries. It is this test the professionals wait for because they want to replace the structure of communication you have at home with the structure used at the treatment center.

The treatment center wants to secure that your parents also involves them in your treatment so the home you return to are changed to modeled after the subculture at the treatment center. The treatment center acknowledges that the wish for a change which led your parents to this decision was created by their own actions. They have to learn at least as many rules as you do. First they have to learn that the rules of the center always apply – even their home. The treatment center is the judge. If you complaint you parent will learn that they should not take your words for it. Only the treatment center! Once they have learned their lesson they can be allowed to speak to you in person. If you have family members who are critical towards the treatment they will be denied access to you. The peer group you may have known all your life will also be cut off.

You are sent to the treatment center for a problem may not acknowledge. It may not be real or diagnosed by a professional which treat people without financial involvement with the treatment center. It is quite normal for professionals to get referrals from treatment centers. But you have to learn how to deal with the imposed issue. It is a tough real life lesson. When you are adults you will be faced with decisions you have no influence on. We are talking economy where your work can be lost regardless of how good you are doing. You may be involved in a high jacking or car accident as passenger. You still have to deal with them and go on from there. While you may have some kind of agreement with your parents about how long you will be staying there is no upper limit beside your 18 years birthday. If your parents become too involved with the treatment they can be caught up at it.

It is hard to tell what you can take with you from such a stay. It might even restrict your present dreams about a future. A miss-diagnose are dangerous even when we are not talking surgical treatment. In general we can read from prison-statistics that once the problems at adolescents has reached the need for residential treatment the later life will be challenged by not only the original issues but also issues created during the residential treatment. Even at normal hospitals mind-based transfer of diseases are known. It is a huge risk at residential treatment centers because you live so close to the other residents.

Morgan. I can only once again deeply regret that both you and your parents didn’t get the help you should have gotten at Fornits.

I cannot tell you how to ease the burden and how you can get to talk to someone who can give you access a proper grievance protocol. There are no adult professional which can pull you if the treatment is not proper for your needs.

Sometime the fight for human treatment of children is a climb up of a steep road.

Academy at Sisters, a thread on the Fornits message board
Looks like somebody posted Morgan's parents to ED, a thread on the Fornits message board
Academy at Sisters - Fornits Wiki

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The first 14 year old charged with a crime in Denmark

July 1 Denmark changed the age limit for criminal responsibility from 15 to 14 based on the success learned from the U.S. In order to create a safe society the lesson learned is that you need to lock 1 percent of the entire population up in prisons so the rest can live in peace. It is called “a new start” by the politicians.

A couple of hours later the first arrest was made.

It was a 14 year old boy who had stole a car and had gone for a joyride where he reached speeds around 110 miles per hour. The speed itself would have been of no concern if it had been done on high ways because experiences from Germany tells us that speed limits is not needed (They don't have any on most of their high ways). Second spending time on a race track is a mandatory part of the education of new drivers in civilized countries. The problem was that he drove his car on ordinary roads where he could have killed some or ended up as Porsche girl.

But what is known about this boy?

The local journalists found that he in fact was on a home visit from a residential program. He had been detained at this facility by the social services because he used to hang around older teenagers who didn't dare to shoplift or break into houses because they risked criminal consequences. Those older teenagers had made their own little crowd in the best Fagin style.

However criminal investigation is pricey and the social services decided to remove the younger teenagers to residential facilities instead of letting the police investigate. Fagin-boys as we have chosen to mention them is quite ordinary in Denmark and the penalty for playing Mr. Fagin himself is a joke. Now where the law has been changed the criminals have already adjusted so you in certain neighborhoods can find 12- or 13 years old committing crimes.

The crime wave in the little town of Svendborg was over. The police was happy that they had time for their donuts again. The social services could write a lot of reports and in this way tell the world that they benefitted the society.

Until Greece went down the road and had to be saved by the rest of Europe in order to avoid bankruptcy as a nation. Denmark had to pay their part and in exchange conduct massive cutbacks in our society.

Suddenly the social services were told that they had to save 12 million DKK (about 2,000,000 dollars). In order to save all that money they ordered 15 of the children in residential care back home for a mandatory home visit. They didn't care if the children were removed because the parents couldn't handle them due to own problems or they had been Fagin-children as the 14 year old boy.

So he returned home.

During his first week home he stole a boat and a gocart. He was arrested by the police and returned home. Then came his arrest on July 1. Now he was arrested, charged with a crime and returned home.

As I write this blog we have July 6. He has been arrested a total of 5 times. July 5 he was arrested in the morning for a breaking together with two girls also aged 14. Later in the afternoon he had stole a moped and despite the low speed he managed to crash into a car in slow motion. The police are tired. Juvenile detention in Denmark cost around 1,000 dollars per day. They are overcrowded during the summer time because crimes always occur when youth are not in high school where they can calm down in the Friday bars over a couple of beers, so youth have to conduct a lot of misdemeanors to risk detention. However he is closing in to meet the standards as they say it.

When will he be in court so he can face the consequences for his crime wave?

Properly sometime in winter!

What will properly be his fate?

More time in residential treatment, but this time court-ordered to the state can pay the bill!

I have to challenge our system. I have to challenge our motives to change the age limit of criminal responsibility. I have to challenge the use of residential treatment programs.

We are talking of a 14 year old boy. His brain is not fully developed. He cannot understand what is waiting around the corner due to his actions.

Teenagers at that age do not include past and future consequences when they decide what to do. They only operate in present time.

When a teenager made bad decisions the answer is not to punish them. The answer is to give them a consequence. We are talking of a huge consequence here.

I have been advocating for a total remodeling of our justice system for the minors.

When a child commits a crime I believe that first step is to ask the school if the child understands right from wrong. If the child is challenged with illness, then the child cannot be held responsible.

But if the school reports that the child functions similar to what is expected from a child aged 12 or above I believe that the police should ask the child or the parents if the child is ready to take responsibility for his actions and avoid any criminal record.

If the answer is yes then the teenager will have to appear before a court of his peers within a week. Based on the previous actions of the child the police may order that the child wears a GPS bracelet and observes a curfew during that week. Otherwise the child and the family should make themselves available for interviews 24/7 by the social services and the appointed teenagers who will be taking the roles of prosecution and defense.

At the trial date the teenager will have to appear before a peer court which will hear the case and sentence the child to write apologies to the victims, give a verbal apology to his parents, assign a number of community service hours and peer court jury duty services.

Once the consequences have been served the sheet is clean. However the family can be ordered to meet with a family coach. If the family fails to corporate with the coach, the parents can be fined until they comply. We have to focus on the family unit rather than the individual child.

Denmark is the country among the Nordic countries which make the most use of residential programs. In a time where we have to rely not only on our own economy but also on the economy of other European countries we have a vulnerable system. The decision to place a child in residential treatment is too often taken without a plan for the future.

While we criticize the teenagers for making bad decision based only on present facts, we have to acknowledge that the entire social system is function very much like teenagers. Where is the plan for the youth once they reach the age of 18 and fall out of the system?

We want a society without crime. There are other paths to choose in order to reach that goal than locking one percent of the population up.

Our system has not served this 14 year old boy very well.

But it has also not served his victims well. The boat had an owner, the cars had owners, the moped had owners and some people may not feel the safety of their own anymore because their personal items have been tampered with.

I must call for a real new start.

I must call for new criminal justice system for the minors which work for their minds. A system where punishment is replaced by consequences handed out not months after the crimes has been made but within a week.

As a taxpaying citizen I want a simple system where the money is used in the local community for the good of ordinary people. Whenever some take something from the local community, they shall pay back to local community.

The time for a change is now.

It can only be done too slow.

14-årig svendborgenser fortsætter kriminel ferie, by Helge Rahbaek, Fyens StiftsTidende, July 5 - 2010 (Article in Danish)
Sparekniv sendte 14-årig retur, by Torsten Nielsen, Fyens StiftsTidende, July 2 - 2010 (Article in Danish)
Første 14-årige sigtes i Svendborg, by Michala Dieckman, Fyens StiftsTidende, July 1 - 2010 (Article in Danish)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Denmark has lowered the age of criminal responsibility

Press-release posted on facebook:

Recently the Danish parliament voted to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 14 years of age. They did that while Denmark continues to fail to honor the conventions of the right of a child because they detain minors in the same prison as adults whenever the juvenile detentions are overbooked.

Now it turns out that they in fact did lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 but the denied the children aged 12 and 13 to legal aid because they have made it an administrative decision whether a child of this age should wear an ankle monitor to ensure that the child will remain at home outside school.

We find it awful that a country like Denmark which in other situations work to spread the use of democracy would teach the future voters that they are not considered human enough to qualify for legal aid.

We are fully aware that the core of the Danish problem with juvenile crime is that residential treatment is an enormous burden for the budget in the social sector. It is so huge a burden that all minors know that they are more likely to avoid consequences of their crime if they commit it late in a budget year.

But the answer is not to use the courts to enforce treatment of what is basically a social problem. The bill will end up at the social sector regardless of who will take the decision.

The answer must come from the social sector itself. They must remove the standard approach which is to maintain a reluctant approach with the individual case until residential treatment cannot be avoided. A focus on local treatment options would lower the total costs.

An ankle monitor cannot provide counseling. An ankle monitor will not be a consequence for a child committing a crime if it is put on without letting the child go through the proper legal process where it is confronted with the victims of the crime so the child is given time to reflect on the actions which led to the legal process.

We must urge that Denmark revoke this decision and find a method to lower the cost in the social sector with other treatment methods and a strategy based on local and early intervention.

Kriminel lavalder sænket til 12 år? - blog entry in Denmark by Birthe1951

Monday, June 7, 2010

China not ready to cancel the killings of teenagers

It is with great regret that we learned today that a group of teenagers were returned to one of the so-called "Internet Addiction Boot Camp" where they were supposed to be treated for an addiction not even recognized as an illness yet.

Maybe it will be officially recognized in 2013 when the DSM-V will be released.

Teenagers are dying in China because their parents who wer raised in a totally different society don't understand that their career might be involve computers in a degree unknown by their heritage.

Based on fear rather than knowledge they choose a number of unproven treatment methods.

While the government in China has banned all the existing known treatment of this supposed uncharted illness, they have difficulties controlling the market based on fear.

We must urge the government of China to prevent further deaths by closing such camps.

Police nab teens escaping Net boot camp, By Wang Xiang, Shanghai Daily News, June 7, 2010
China bans physical punishment for Internet addicts, Reuters, November 9, 2009
Ministry halts controversial electrotherapy program for Internet addicts, China Daily, July 14, 2009
Student beaten to death at boot camp, Global Times, August 4, 2009
Payout over teen's boot camp tragedy, China Daily, August 24, 2009

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do you know about the concept of a youth transport firm?

Most teenagers in the United States may grow up to adulthood without ever knowing what such a firm does for a living.

However those who do never stop dreaming of them. There might be weeks between them, even months but then the nightmare resurface once more.

The place where you as a teenager should feel safe never became the same. This one night your parent woke you telling you that you are no longer a part of your family. That you have violated the house rules so severe that you have to be removed from your home.

You are sleepy and don’t quite understand what your father or mother is telling you, but suddenly you notice two goons in the room. You understand that there is no turning back. You are disposed of like the leftovers from yesterday’s meal.

Your parent disappears almost running out of the room. You don’t know it at that point but it is part of a well-rehearsed act. Your parent has a script to work from, which they have received from the transport firm.

Once your parent is away you are ordered out of the bed. Once dressed most firms have a policy that the transport good must be in some forms of restraint. Not entire woken and understanding what is going most teenagers find themselves driving away what was once their childhood.

When various message boards discussed what to do in order to avoid being taken to the car, it was the golden 30 seconds between the parent leaving the room and the transport good being order out the bed, where the transport good must use self-defense.

But is it possible to make teenagers aware that they in advance must arm themselves?

That their parents suddenly would reverse child protection rule number one that every single parent on this planet state: “Never walk with a stranger”?

It is hard to imaging.

WANT YOUR KID TO DISAPPEAR?, by Nadya Labi, Legal Affairs, July 2004
Teen Escort Company, Secret prison for teens datasheet

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Charges re-filed in Boot Camp dragging case

We have just been notified that the DA has re-filed charges against the staff from a so-called Christian Boot Camp.

The incident at Love Demonstrated Ministries Christian Boot Camp took place in July 2007. The previous trial ended up in a mistrial because the jury could not come to a decision.

We will pray to that the court system will reach a fair decision which will not accept that dragging a boot camp participant behind a car can be an accepted form used in the process of behavior modification.

Love Demonstrated Ministries Christian Boot Camp, Secret Prisons for Teens Wiki Database

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Checking the staff

When you have minors in your care it is important to conduct background checks of the staff. Here in Denmark it is mandatory for even sport clubs to conduct such checks.

If you as manager for a facility or a program fail to have a policy about what kind of background checks employees must pass, tragedy might happen. One of our volunteers wrote a piece about recent findings at a boarding school in California:

Outside Los Angeles there was once a boarding school for troubled teenagers.

It was founded by a person who worked with a cult.

He saw a market for toubled teenagers and he took advance of it. The methods used at the cult became the basis for modern so-called treatment of troubled kids across the United States.

The name of this school was CEDU.

Several of the cases we have on our
Missing and wanted page in our Wiki Database are from the CEDU school in California.

Now we are talking of troubled teenagers. Most people would think that the children just ran off like it happened last week in Old Fort, North Carolina where
two girls suddenly were missing from a camp.

But sometimes the truth is so much more awful.

Three kids officially disappeared from CEDU. They were:
John Christopher Inman, Blake Wade Pursley and Daniel Yuen

For many years people believed that they just ran away, but then the police started to investigate a certain
James Lee Crummel. He had unrestricted access to the CEDU campus for decades. Based on evidence in another case he is now locked up, but will we ever learn whether the children made it off campus or their lives were cut short in the boarding school?

We must learn from this case. We must learn not to automaticly assume that a teenager missing is a teenager who has run away.

Background checks is almost impossible to do when you are a private business responsible for making profit to the shareholders. As a boss hiring staff you have to go with your feeling alone and they can trick you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Karl Johanson's reply to a local article in a SUWS runaway case

Karl Johanson wrote in response to this article:

Runaways located after 14-hour search, By Richelle Bailey, The Mcdowell News, May 09, 2010

I am happy that they were found safe.

But I am concerned because knowing the type of wilderness program they were detained in, they were not provided with legal representation as they would have if they had committed a crime.

Most of the so-called clients or detainees, which are a better term, are either tricked by their parents to such program or simply pulled out of their bed at night by private youth transport firms and transported to the wilderness camps in handcuffs and shackles on the orders of their parents.

How come that criminals are better protected that an ordinary teenagers, who may only have problems as little as an ordinary depression or being picky at the dinner table?

What kind of society are we, when we send a message to our kids that you have to commit a crime in order to secure legal protection for you?

As I stated above I volunteer for a NGO where we track records of possible abuse and deaths among minors in treatment. Every year we must acknowledge that we once again can observe how teenagers lost their lives in a treatment aimed to "treat" them. Every year we also most acknowledge that some cannot live on with the memories of the so-called treatment and choose to end their lives prematurely.

When will it stop? We hope that 2010 will be the turning point, but as this story show, it will most likely not happen.

My heart goes out for these girls. May they one day be able to return to their families safe and hopefully without so many scars from the "treatment".


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chanel Mare - Victim of possible parent outsourcing?

In Denmark our government has battled marooning children to foreign religious boarding schools for quote a while.

Many of these kids who were abandoned abroad return unable to be fully integrated into our culture because they were forced to live in a confined environment where they didn't receive skills to socialize as people do in our part of the world.

Sadly Denmark is in the front battling parental outsourcing to enclosed religous boarding schools.

In the United States a long tradition exist using religious boarding schools for behavior modification. The State of Texas battled the so-called Roloff homes for a long time forcing the schools to move to states with poor or none regulation and oversight.

In a state like Missouri there are no authorities to look out for the welfare of children placed in boarding schools if the boarding school choose to label itself as a religious boarding school. In other states the behavior modification business is so huge an industry that regulation will become a question about preserving jobs rather than looking out of the welfare of the children.

A federal law named HR 911 was supposed to apply just a little oversight and safety for the children, but this proposal is presently stuck in the Senate.

It is however important that something is done, because the authorities in several states have interfered several times but with harsh legal struggle lying in front of them.

Mississippi raided the Bethels Academies later known as Golf Coast Academy several times. This place was in existence as late as 2007. Missouri knows only too well what Mountain Park Academy stood for. While not being a religious program Thayer Learning Center made headlines when they were targeted by a federal investigation.

Just last year the authorities in Alabama raided Reclamation Ranch where they found shackles which were used on the kids. This case is still in the court system.

There are so many reasons that kids from Europe shouldn't be sent to the United States, if they are causing problems to their parents. Unfortunately there are no laws in Britain preventing parents from sending their child abroad for behavior modification. It doesn't matter if we are talking the Middle East or the United States. The dangers for the children are the same.

Now 17 year old Chanel Mare is on the run from a ranch in Missouri. A ranch where she had no other choice than taking part in religious activities regardless of her belief. We must ask ourselves how we would react if we were forced to partipate in worshiping a different God than the one we believe in back home.

She was denied contact with her peers back home. She could not attend a church of her own.

Where is the authorities in this matter?

The answer is that she properly will be jailed when she is caught because running away is considered a criminal offense regardless if she is running away from abuse.

This must stop.

It is time for the British authorities to get her back home so she can enjoy a life in freedom.

It is time for this madness to stop.
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