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Troubled For-Profit Youth Prison Company Closes Chamberlain Academy

Jessica Giard reports that Florida-based Youth Services International is closing the Chamberlain Academy, a youth detention and treatment facility in Chamberlain. This private facility, licensed by the state Department of Social Services, has housed an average of 22 juveniles over the past year (its capacity is 40) and supported 37 jobs in Chamberlain.

YSI is closing a similar facility in Elmore, Minnesota. Three years ago, YSI closed its youth detention facility in Springfield, South Dakota.

YSI has a history of bad news related to its for-profit youth detention facilities. In 2000, YSI gave cash settlements to get five of six juvenile plaintiffs to drop their lawsuits over sexual abuse by insufficiently vetted and supervised Chamberlain Academy employee James Johnson. YSI initially tried to get out of the lawsuits by claiming immunity under the South Dakota law protecting public correctional facilities from prosecution, but Judge Lawrence Piersol nixed that ploy.

A child under YSI's care at its Forest Ridge facility in Estherville, Iowa, died after being denied adequate medical care for ten days, as staff seemed more concerned that the inmate was faking illness. An Oklahoma attorney visited YSI's Forest Ridge in November 1995 and found "excessive restraining of youths, group punishment for individual acts, unwritten rules, inadequate access for youths to the courts, and a poor policy for youths to air grievances." (Forest Ridge is now owned an operated by an apparently local non-profit organization.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class action lawsuit against YSI in October, 2010, for alleged abuses of youth at YSI's Florida facilities. YSI arranged a sealed settlement. YSI continues to run a number of juvenile detention facilities in Florida and to skirt rules while profiting significantly from that state's privatization of juvenile corrections:

Florida’s permissive oversight has allowed Youth Services International to essentially game the system since entering the state more than a decade ago. Despite contractual requirements that the company report serious incidents at its facilities, YSI routinely fails to document problems, sanitizes those reports it does submit and pressures inmates to withhold evidence of mistreatment, according to interviews with 14 former YSI employees.

“The state is not doing enough,” said Wanda Williams, a former staffer at YSI’s Palm Beach Juvenile Correctional Facility, who quit in 2010 after growing disgusted with the violence and squalid conditions she saw inside the prison. “Because if they were, that place should have been shut down by now” [Chris Kirkham, "Prisoners of Profit: Florida's Lax Oversight Enables Systemic Abuse at Private Youth Prisons," Huffington Post, 2013.10.23].

Last year, a federal report found almost one in three inmates at YSI's Paulding Youth Detention Center in Dallas, Georgia, reporting sexual abuse. In October, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice closed the Paulding facility. State officials say that closing was about declining juvenile detainee numbers, not sexual abuse problems. Georgia has maintained contracts with YSI to run two other youth detention centers.

In 2012-2013, the South Dakota Department of Social Services contracted with Youth Services International to provide services for juveniles placed through Corrections, Child Protection, and Tribal Court at the Chamberlain Academy at a rate of $142.94 per child per day. Given YSI's track record and the unseemliness of for-profit prisons, perhaps South Dakota can find a better use for that money now that YSI is leaving the state.


  1. jerry 2014.01.09

    When I think of the privatization of anything to do with public money, it is a bit confusing to me. Why one earth would the state of South Dakota promote outsourcing to Florida or anyplace else. This tells me that when you are dealing with a republican regime, they cannot make things work so they have to send it out of state. If I were a big time employer that was thinking of moving to this state, I would look at that hard and ask myself, if they cannot run things on their own, how on earth will they be able to provide the infrastructure needed to make my business run smoothly. Denny needs to go. He and Christie could be the Laurel and Hardy of the failed governor comedy circuit, but the joke is on us for the time being.

  2. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.09

    Laurel and Hardy! Good one!

  3. Kurt Evans 2014.01.10

    >"... excessive restraining of youths, group punishment for individual acts, unwritten rules, inadequate access for youths to the courts, and a poor policy for youths to air grievances."

    >"... violence and squalid conditions ..."

    Many years ago I worked exactly one shift at the Chamberlain Academy, and the memories still haunt me. What a hellhole.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.10

    Kurt, I hate to dig up bad memories, but feel to share any relevant details.

  5. nacycul 2014.01.13

    I was in Springfield Academy around the same time that the girl in Iowa died, "Mystie", I believe is her name. She would be the same age as me if she was alive today. Although I was totaly oblivious of that whole I was in there. I have been totaly oblivious of all this news untill today. I would tell my girlfriend stories of the year that I spent in Springfield. I told her one today and she says to me "where did they touch you?"... jokingly ofcourse. But that made me curious and I googled the academy just to see how it was doing. Shut down indefinately due to all this news of sexual assault and abuse. I cant say that I was that surprised. I witnessed a lot of phisical restraints and diciplinary action that was very questionable. The physical training was absolutely intense. There were times when you werent even allowed to eat good portions of food. No bathroom priviledges. I was only 15, but even then I knew that my rights were being violated. Ot was a pretty crazy place. I hope these guys get held accountable for this crap. Profit for locking up juviniles is very bad.

  6. Kathy 2014.01.13

    This makes me angry. The welfare of children should not be "for profit". Period. End of sentence. Nobody should be turning a profit off of a troubled child or a child who ends up in a group home because their parents can't or won't get their crap together.

  7. Tim 2014.07.30

    As a former youth of YSI the restraints will haunt me for life. No attorney will touch the company as it is past statue of limitations. We were all brainwashed that restraints and violence was how you delt with conflicts. Staff encouraged it as discapline, we even encouraged it because it was all we knew. The frustrations of zero legal action is frusterating as it is not for money reason but to help prevent cruel and unusual punishment from contiuing in the U.S.. Wrote the company in an effort to find clousure and they would not even appologize and recieved a one line unsigned response back, "Sorry your perception of reality is altered."

  8. Lynn 2014.07.30

    Tim I feel bad for the kids that were in these for profit institutions. I'm against that type of industry and for profit prisons.

  9. Tim 2014.07.30

    The best we can do for the children that have suffered the abuse of YSI is to encourage them to thrive and find happiness in life. I fought for my privilege to obtain a GED while at the Academy and now working on applying to graduate school. These restraints included asphyxiation, pain, and youth would have to stay extremely still for over an hour at a time in order to get out of them. Restraints as well as extreme workouts in the basement coated in the sweat of 20 other youth was common use of discipline. Discipline and not for the safety of violently acting out youth. The stories of YSI I am sure are unbelievable and why I rarely tell them especially in the 21st century.

  10. Lynn 2014.07.30

    Basic training in the Army during the Reagan years was a good experience for me and I saw other recruits change with the structure and training to gain confidence in themselves. It was amazing to see the positive changes.

    What you and others have described seem so extreme.

  11. Tim 2014.07.30

    I think any kid that had been in a restraint in these facilities should be compensated. Staff would often give each other high fives for restraints well done while others would be chastised for using any other form of humane discipline or conflict resolution.

  12. Tim 2014.07.30

    This place makes Basic Training look like heaven. I never noticed that some of these things that YSI did were wrong until I was in SEAR training.

  13. Sam 2014.07.30

    Basic training is also not designed to develop teenagers into young autonomous adults. Basic training is designed to develop confidence and teamwork. Yes confidence and teamwork is vital for any young troubled youth but compliance to strict standards that limit development are not. There are other ways to develop that confidence you achieved in Basic Training without a Basic Training type of environment. It worked for you as a young 18+ individual vs. a highly stigmatized teenager that may come from a physically and verbally abusive home.

  14. Lynn 2014.07.30

    Sam good points and I realize that. I was 21 at the time with some college years behind me and my maturity and life experiences were vastly different from such young kids exposed to such an extreme and sounds like an abusive environment.

    Basic was the closest thing I could think of besides other slim confidence builders being in athletics and theater despite being in an abusive environment. I'm just thinking when we are younger even a year or a few years make such a difference in our coping and social skills in the right environment.

    The more I hear about YSI and institutions like it the more disturbing it is.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.30

    Wow, Tim—what a callous and cowardly response from YSI. They dismiss your effort as an adult to re-enegage with them and discuss what they did to you. They take the time to disrespect your dignity one more time, but they don't put someone's name to it.

  16. Tim 2014.07.30

    Do you work for JDAI? YSI staff were very good at influencing how the youth responded to medical professionals at the ER. I believe it was Tyndall ER that we went too. Broken shoulders were common. A ride to the ER was a chance to allow staff to trust you, you lie or omit for them and it helped you reach levels and get home quicker. Another incident I witnessed was my roommate was advised to tell the ER his injuries were a suicide attempt. It is extremely frustrating that this company has so many laws protecting it. The run under many corporate laws, seen them when a sexual assault case based on the fact the employee no longer worked for the company and management not held liable because they did not have knowledge of the assault. YSI rarely oversaw it's programs and with due cause, you can plead ignorance of a problem if you do not know it exists. Statute of limitations are also frustrating in the fact that the brainwashing lasts for years, especially more than 3 years. When or if an underprivileged child obtains an education or understanding enough to defend themselves they are instantly stopped at the door.

  17. Tim 2014.07.30

    i never want anybody feel sorry for me and I will not let anyone feel sorry for me. I am a strong individual and many of the former youth are strong individuals. I intend to never play a victim role and share my experiences only as a means to inform others or limit the ability for companies such as YSI to operate. I also cannot blame the staff members of YSI for their actions as many were often fallowing commands with best intentions. A lack of education of staff, transparency, and oversight on the part of corporate members of YSI is who I place the blame. Although when they shut down Springfield Academy the exact people they blamed it on was the local staff. If your company is too large that you cannot have adequate over site I see it as a corporate problem.

  18. Lynn 2014.07.30

    Tim what is SEAR and JDAI? Reading what went on there just makes me angry. What a hell hole! They should never allow that again. Where were the advocates for these kids? How could they allow this to happen?

  19. Tim 2014.07.30

    I meant SERE. It's a survival training if you are captured by an enemy. I am not at liberty to discuss much although I seen startling comparisons to YSI and POW camps. JDAI is Juvenile Diversion Alternative Initiative. I don't know enough to represent them but they are a good organization that are pushing to keep kids in their communities.

  20. Tim 2014.07.30

    I will be releasing a small book in about 4to6 months about the South Dakota juvenile system in the 1990s under the pseudo name Tim Shenell. Feel free to look for it in the future. I am writing it as a guide for anyone wishing to join the field of social work or youth residential care. Also aimed at 200 and 300 level undergraduate students.

  21. Tim 2014.07.30

    There area many factors that allows the abuse to happen and these factors can easily happen. I have been working on my book while I stumbled upon this article. Stigmatized kids are considered to make things up in order to get out of trouble. When your asked to cover up abuse you have two options, 1 report the abuse and face the fact that the courts will most likely assume your just trying to play the system, or 2 play the system an go with the abuse and hope the staff take your cover up as a cooperation. Cooperation = good feedback when you go to court. Many kids also believed it was part of their punishment or just how it goes. New staff members are eager to please and go with the flow, and also believe the kids learn from or deserve the conditions. It is extremely easy to create a culture of abuse within a facility. Very hard to explain in a posting.

  22. Tim 2014.08.06

    I have reached out to YSI again and they denied any such types of restraints I described and called their restraint procedures, "Handle With Care." Upon reading about Handle With Care I also see zero resemblance if the technique used by staff at Spring Field Academy. Either there was little oversight of the academies or it is corporate denial. Was also told YSI was purchased by another company that decided to close the academies in SD. I wonder how many people were rehired by the new company.

  23. Jacqueline 2014.11.05

    I'm 20 years old and completed the ysi program when I was 16. The days were the longest and when you have nothing and no one you just put your head down and do what's expected. I'm thankful the academies are shut down. . Tim when you are finished with your book I'd like a copy please.

  24. Tim 2014.11.05

    Jacqueline You must have been at Chamberlain Academy. I'm interested to know what that facility was like. Always heard it was nicer. Had to stop at it a few times in the prison bus, looked nicer.

  25. Tim 2014.11.05

    My email is I can let you know in a few months of where to get the book. I will also be making a website.

  26. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.06

    My name is Robert Boelter. I was locked up in the springfield academy in the end of 1994 to the middle 1996. I was there before YSI took over. I can remember the day the head guy came in his helicopter to announce the switch in owners. From that point on we had leavels of confrontation. From non verbal to physical confontation. And when staff would make you stand there for hours for the dumbest things they would slam you to the ground for the slitest twitch in your body. They made us build that big fence around the back with the basket ball court and track inside it for us to do excersises on a sceadule. YSI staff members were all steriod looking freaks to. Like really buff. I was there for a long time lot of memories at that place hardiest time of my life. Any questions i can answer let me know i was there from before the take over. I remember the riots On staff for hurting other kids there. Scary time of my life.
    Robert Boelter Sr 3/06/15

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.03.06

    That's frightening, Mr. Boelter. Is the same head guy still in charge of YSI? Did YSI rotate that new muscly staff in to the school right away? Were those new goons from Chamberlain or out of state?

  28. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.06

    Im not sure i was over 20 years ago. All new staff were from the pennselvaina facility. Yes they came to school with us right away.We made the name bison for springfield. I was in lincon group. I came from st.paul, mn flew to chamberlin in shackles. Sat in a room for 24 hours then i was driven for awhile to springfield were i did my 15 mounth sentence.had my 16th and 17th birthday there with no visits or home visits. Once ysi took over we were never allowed to leave the building again. Tough times

  29. Tim 2015.03.06

    I can confirm standing for hours over simple stuff. One time till 1:00am because our group took a few minutes to long to eat dinner. I still eat crazy fast to this day. "You took our time so we will take yours," was the common phrase. Upon teaching out to YSI they have changed hands to avoid lawsuits several times Mr. boelter was there.

  30. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.06

    Tim you mentioned the sweat box. What sucks is that the was the best of are planed day. And the sweat box was a room inthe basement with high cealings. They had waits a basketball hoop on the wall. So if you didnt do one or the other you sat along the wall. I played ball and if you shot it to high it would hit the rafters and rickashay. After ysi took over that was the only place to play they wouldnt let us outside until we built the big metal fence around the back of the building. The we poured the big slab for the basketball court then we leveled and rocked a track to jog on around the court. When we finished that that was are new rec area and outside time cause the school and lunch room were all connected to the living area. There was a lady that sold soap and stuff cominsary and on certin days. There were counslers a nurse teachers dorm staff maintnance and kitchen. All local at first. Went shopping in yankton worked at the town soup kitchen for elders played at the big court across the street wasnt that bad besides the distance from family. New alot of people scent there at the time. In the twin cities that is the long term place for bad kids really bad kids. I was there for two felonys. But ysi made it
    A your gonna or else polisy and they stood buy it. This is after they fired the local staff that were nice and cared about all the youth they were helping relize the dumb desitions we made to put us there. But ysi people were like big hands on prison gaurds. The best way to make it was to act like a soldier and follow all rules. The messed up thing was the local kids that were cent there for behavior. No chance of serviveing that they were the ones picked on everyday. There were four or five different gangs there it was crazy. To youth from the inner city of different back ground and put them in a remote location is a bad idea. They wernt perpaid for are reaction to the sudden change in our everyday program. You couldnt have any emotions pretty much any sign of anger or attitude and its a confrontation which always got physical and restrained. Emotions is the way of copeing with life and getting through tough times and relizeing how ignorent i was being. They made that harder. It shows the goverment is all about money. Humanity is not a factor when it comes to goverment funding and public tax dollars. I could go on for ever in the difference when ysi took over cruel dont even discribe the feelings i hold or memoeies.To have you build a fence for you to never go out of again was wrong. Still pisses me off to this day got a scare on my finger from the sheet metal we put on the walls. See lot of memories comeing back.

  31. Tim 2015.03.06

    I was one of those small town kids without any crimes, a mom that just didn't want me. I managed to stay neutral with the gangs somehow. We got Aspergers and kids that where raped by family there. These kids where commonly picked on.

  32. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.07

    I felt for you guys but in a place like that and were i came from there was nothing i could say or do or else i would of been outcasted. Survival of the fitist. Sad thing to say

  33. nacycul 2015.03.08

    Robert B.,
    I was there Sep. 1995 to Sep 1996. I was also sent there from St. Paul, Mn. As I was reading your reply, a lot of memories Came back. I also was flown there in a little Cargo plane and shackled in the same way. The fence was already there when I arrived .
    I mentioned in my earlier reply that, even at that age I knew that SomehOw my rights were being violated. But One of the main things that stood out for me was that : Most of the staff had zero certification for any of the things that the were training for. At that time, I Spent a lot of time in foster Care / group homes and I could tell if an adult was qaulified in child care. I can comfortably say that more than 75% of the staff there had less than any kind of certification that a legitnment job like that would require(besides the teachers). Most of them were factory workers that just got laid off ( in my oppinion) . For instance, if a new staff member was training and a level 6 (staff support, they grab the arms) is in progres, they would pause it, retrieve the staff members that need to train in that and then continue. I mean you can just imagine how ugly this ended up. the kid was obviously already annoyed that they were using him a guinea pig.
    I can count on one hand the amount of staff members that I think were qaulified for the job.I still remember staff names, but I'm not sure if that's appropriate to list.
    I worked off grounds at the Bison Screenprinting and at the restauraunt. I was on the track team. In about 6 monthS, I earned my "Bison status" . I phoned my probation Officer , He refused to release me, which I did not understand, because, he said that if I completed program he would. After that I kind of rebelled and lost my status. Went on D.L. (discipline Level) a few times. A year passed and I recieve a phone call(probation officer) saying something like "Ramsey County has ran out of funds . You are being released". So they drove me and a couple of other Ramsey county kids to Soux Falls and put us on a bus back home. Its kind of cool that I met someone that was there at the same time I was. I hope you are well Robert.

  34. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.08

    it actually gave me a clear head on how to treat people. We acted out because no matter where we were sent we were always treated the same. My biggest thing now is do onto otheres as they do to you. What group were you in i was in lincoln.

  35. Tim 2015.03.08

    You guys are a little older than me. We had group names of Wolves, Tigers, and I can't remember the others. I started there at age 14 and grew up there till age 17. The timeline of events of me living there is scattered as I blanked most of the experience out. After receiving Bision status after a year I was still there another year. My county told me I couldn't leave until another kid filed my spot because my county didn't want to lose their beds. I ended up going lethargic and being put in the state mental hospital than being brought back to Springfield in order to redo the program. I was criticized for failing the program even though I had passed and maintained it for two years.

  36. grudznick 2015.03.08

    Mr. Boelter, I too eat my breakfast scary fast. You don't want other people to get any of it from you. I know all about it.

  37. nacycul 2015.03.09

    Robert B,
    If I can recall, The Groups were; lincoln, wolves, jagaur, and Cobras. Might of been another one. I was in the Cobras.
    Yes, I can agree that it wasn't all a negative experience. I still use some of the things that I learned from there. My girlfriend tells me that I am overly polite and it kinda makes me sound sarcastic. I say "excuse me" and "thank you" way too much she says. Even at the gym, I do the same exercises that I did at Springfield. When I use the bathroom I sometimes am very rushed and then I have to stop myself and remember that I don't have to try to finish my shower in less than a minute and a half(Yeah DISCIPLINE LEVEL sucked). Or take a number two in about that same amount of time.
    So yeah,it wasn't all terrible. Well for me it wasn't. I was kind of breaking the law quite a bit, so I eventually thought to myself that I should work program and I did. I learned a lot of positive things from there that I still use to this day to help me get by.

  38. Tim 2015.03.09

    Being overly polite is a sign of being institutionalized, it has effected your assertiveness. Assertiveness is linked to a lot in your life, something YSI brainwashed you to lose. Assertive kids question rules which would require more staffing equalling more money off the bottom line. Threats of violent restraints sure kept me polite.

  39. Thorton 2015.03.10

    I was employed at SA for years in the 90's. Some of what Tim is saying is borderline accurate. Much of what Tim is saying is a gross exaggeration or fabricated entirely. "Broken shoulders were common" come on. SA and YSI should be examined closely. they had real problems at the corporate and local level but your comments, "sweat box, standing for hours, steroid staff"
    just not true

  40. Tim 2015.03.10

    Steroid staff was not my comment neither was swear boxing. Remember the basement that frequently filled with sewage and kids where made to work out in with little ventilation. Push ups in others sweat. If you also deny the fact that kids where frequently injured and suffocated in restraints you are a perpetrator of abuse. As well as restraints being used for punishment and not safety. If we could all get access to Tyndall hospitals records the truth would be there.

  41. Thorton 2015.03.10

    Once again, you go for the dramatic over the truth. Using statements of maximization does not make something true. Frequently injured? Frequently flooded with sewage? Like I said YSI, SA deserve to be criticized, as do states that place kids in need of foster care with kids who commit violent crimes. I remember spending most of my time counseling and protecting kids from other kids not abusing kids. I do agree that few of the staff were trained well in the early days nor were they paid well enough to attract real professional youth workers ( reason I left YSI ). I also remember many staff taking trips to the hospital but only one student injured during the 2 years I worked there. A staff member was kicked in the head repeatedly suffering permanent brain damage-FACT.

  42. nacycul 2015.03.10

    I don't know about the "broken shoulder" thing. But, I can say that "standing for hours" and the "sweatbox" has some truth to it. If you were on D.L. (discipline level) at rec time you had to stand and just look at the wall. Sometimes rec lasted a couple hours. Especially if your group was playing basketball. During my time there, there was a basketball team competing against Chamberlain and other accademies. Those bb games lasted a long time. The "sweatbox" if that term is referring to the fence in the back where the basketball hoops were, than, there's some truth to that. It was super hot in there especially if you had to sit there and stare at the wall and P.T. was pretty rough in there too during the summer months. The "Steroid" thing. I didn't notice that. Like I said before, my issue with the staff was that they were uneducated and uncertified, unqualified, whatever you wanna call it.

  43. Tim 2015.03.10

    Thornton your attitude towards the former youth seams to still be staff Vs. the youth. Maybe why there was so much violence in the facility. There where a few great staff members that where frequently criticized by other staff, there is no denying that. But there is no way you can invalidate me as an individual that has been forced to do push-ups in sewage, suffocated till passing out, as well as seeing kids talked into claiming injuries as accidents. It is also great to hear that a staff had received brain injuries nobody wishes that on anyone. The fact that you express that such violence happened in the facility is another reason kids without felony should have ever been placed there.

  44. Tim 2015.03.10

    Sorry typo "it is not great to hear that a staff received brain injuries."

  45. Tim 2015.03.10

    I would be willing to take a forensics interview anyday even though it would be pointless as all the laws are in place protecting YSI from wrongful doing. Also how do you explain all of the sexual abuse payouts from YSI at Chamberlain and Springfield there is public record of these payouts. I would recomend doing a little more research as my experiences aren't even close to as dramatic as youth in YSI facilities in Florida documented in public court record.

  46. Thorton 2015.03.11

    Huh, why would I try to explain sexual abuse? Also, I am not trying to invalidate your experience or the pain it caused you. I am truly sorry that your time there has negatively impacted you so. My issue is with statements like "common" "never" "frequently" . I do not know know if these things happened but I do know they were not common place.
    Reread my post carefully, we agree on more than you realize. Also, I believe that SA improved immensely during the mid to late 90's. I bet the CO. kids that graduated HS, got trained in building trades, ran track, played BB, traveled on the wrestling team,went to Vikings games. etc. are grateful for their experiences.
    The good does not erase the bad-the bad does not erase the good.

  47. Tim 2015.03.11

    I was in the facility from 2002 to 2005 so they must have really gone down hill. We still had building trades but none of the other activities you mentioned. Most of our staff worked at the local prison. I also believe witnessing several broken shoulders while I was there allows me to utilize the word "common" as a kid should never get injured over the simplist things. Springfield took abused kids from homes and abused them more. I once never seen or heard of corporate executive visiting the facility. The man that ran the facility had abuse problems with his own children.

  48. Thorton 2015.03.11

    My mistake Tim, I thought we were discussing the same time period. Perhaps those events were common then. The academy took a slide in about 98 when the Pueblo facility was opened and the Co contract ended. They reverted to "filling the beds" to pay the bills and all the problems that come with that. Good luck to you in life.

  49. Tim 2015.03.11

    I don't need good luck in life. I've worked hard for everything I have.

  50. grudznick 2015.03.11

    Mr. Tim, I do appreciate your thoughts. You seem a fine fellow and I doff my hat at you. Good luck.

  51. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.12

    I was there when the staff member got kicked in the head that was rosevelt group. And around the time of the ysi take over. The staff member was a big country dude always wore cowboy boots. They cut us off every little bit of fredom we had left.

  52. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.13

    And there was always fights between the gangs. Thats what i was saying the they brang staff from other states. From there other facilities.

  53. Tim 2015.03.13

    It is interesting to hear about how the facility evolved to the hell hole it became towards the last ten years of it's existence. All the kids used to laugh when we read pamphlets and marketing videos of the facility. We had zero such services. There is a new federal law now prohibiting false marketing of youth corrections facilities.

  54. Robert Boelter SR 2015.03.14

    I bilt the fence around the outside sweet box i have a scare on my finger were i lost a chunk of skin from the sheet metal as i mentioned before. Before that we use to play ball across the street or just chill and relax. But when ysi took over they stopped allowing us to leave the grounds.then there stupid steps program. Non verbal warning verbal warning then group confrontation if that didnt work the staff did physical confrontation. And that was in 1994 to 1996. It was jail for me. I served a 15 mounth sentence for felony theft and felony assualt. My point is the emotional local kids and kids with mental problems. I can remember this indian kid jeramy laroach always choked his self and tried to act like a bad ass all the time just cause all us city kids to fit in. But he would hit what ever kid you told him to. Get in the staffs face and scream in there face. Never had a visit never went home. He was there for acting out no criminal offences. So for him it was suppose to be a treatment facilitie. When ysi took over them kids were the ones getting rastrained all the time. The last thing you do to kids with emotional problems is get in there face and argue a point they aint trying to hear that. Now they have meds to control them problems. And jails for the criminals. Im not saying i was one of the victims cause i aint. Once i found out i couldnt get a home visit or a visit at all and i was there till my time of 15 mounths was served along with 500 hours comunity service i said screw it and clicked up with my homies that were there. Before i went to springfield academy i was out for three mounths after being locked up for 9 mounths at boys totem town in the twin cities. My point is i was there to do my time not some stupid program that made no sence and didnt work cause when i got home to st.paul i moved back to chicago got into my gang bangin even worse. So then my mom moved back to st.paul in witch i brang my gang bangin with got all my old friends in and caught my last felony theft of a fire arm from a police officer. Because of them to felonys i was sent to springfield academy for them gave me two points on my third one as an adult in which i got 30 days in the work house 15 mounths over my head and 20 years probation. I did 16 years of that probation. My felony is a mistermenior now. That place did nothing to help me or any other person put there. It took me to not be able to hold my first baby boy because i was in jail to learn my lesson and act like a civilized person and to notice put myself there from my actions. From that point on i became a great father and wonderful husband. Thest best lesson learned is the one you teach yourself.

  55. Tim 2015.03.14

    We even had a kid when I was there that his parents brought him from Michigan in their private jet and self paid because the facilities marketing made it look like Disney land. It was a bad place for youth that had emotional problems or foster care kids with nowhere else to go. Those kids would scream out for hours in restraints while we where trying to sleep at night.

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