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And you think that Baghdad is bad... - Waiting for someone to turn on the light switch of death. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
cynical_moose

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And you think that Baghdad is bad... [May. 7th, 2004|03:11 pm]
cynical_moose
I said I'd talk about American prisons for Iraqis, but I got distracted by American prisons for teens, which are, if anything, slightly more disturbing. (Small disclaimer - I do not especially criticise the US here - the British system is also very dangerous - Victoria Climbe, for example - but it seems apt with the current news about conditions in Iraq)

For those of you who haven't heard about these camps, there appears to be a business (particularly one called WWASP, World Wide Association of Speciality Programs), which runs camps and centres (often termed "speciality boarding schools") for your difficult teen (which includes those suffering from drug use - signs in adolescents include "Physical appearance changing", "Seems to have lost motivation", or just being regularly "sleepy" - as well as those sleeping around "our program makes them understand and fear sex for what they are" (sic)). These camps are often called "speciality boarding schools".



And they are, to me, more disturbing than the conditions inside American prisons. The major problem, however, is exactly the same. In JTF-GTMO (Camp Delta to the rest of us), one of the major psychological problems is that the prisoners have no clue when they will be released. They are, however, allowed to talk (finally!), wash in clean conditions (this is something the ICRC has actually half-praised), and think.

Compare the programs operated by STRAIGHT (no link, this has now been effectively shut down, but has spawned
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I said I'd talk about American prisons for Iraqis, but I got distracted by American prisons for teens, which are, if anything, slightly more disturbing. (Small disclaimer - I do not especially criticise the US here - the British system is also very dangerous - Victoria Climbe, for example - but it seems apt with the current news about conditions in Iraq)

For those of you who haven't heard about these camps, there appears to be a business (particularly one called WWASP, World Wide Association of Speciality Programs), which runs camps and centres (often termed "speciality boarding schools") for your difficult teen (which includes those suffering from drug use - signs in adolescents include "Physical appearance changing", "Seems to have lost motivation", or just being regularly "sleepy" - as well as those sleeping around "our program makes them understand and fear sex for what they are" (sic)). These camps are often called "speciality boarding schools".<br><br>

And they are, to me, more disturbing than the conditions inside American prisons. The major problem, however, is exactly the same. In JTF-GTMO (Camp Delta to the rest of us), one of the major psychological problems is that the prisoners have no clue when they will be released. They are, however, allowed to talk (finally!), wash in clean conditions (this is something the ICRC has actually half-praised), and think.

Compare the programs operated by STRAIGHT (no link, this has now been effectively shut down, but has spawned <a href="http://thestraights.com/the-straights/thestraights-fc.htm"many children</a>) and <a href="http://www.wwasps.org/Introduction.php">WWASPS</a> (it appears that WWASPS makes the program, which the independently owned schools implement. Right down to the text on their websites, which is identical). They all operate on much of the same principles, detailed best in a <a href="http://education.guardian.co.uk/classroomviolence/story/0,12388,987932,00.html">Guardian article</a>. It talks about <a href="http://www.difficultteens-tranquilitybay.com/">Tranquility bay </a>. This is in Jamaica, which has very lax child protection laws.

Especially enlightening gems include:
<em>It permits the Jamaican staff, whose qualifications are not required to exceed a high-school education, to use whatever physical force they feel necessary to control their child. The contract also waives Tranquility's liability for harm that should befall a child in its care.</em>

<em>The only moment a student is alone is in a toilet cubicle; but a chaperone is standing right outside the door, and knows what he or she went in to do, because when students raise their hand for permission to go, they must hold up one finger for 'a number one', and two for 'a number two'.</em>

[Of each day]<em> 'Yep, identical,' says Kay . 'Exactly identical. Now you see,' he adds, with a grim nod of satisfaction, 'why kids are not happy here.'</em>

<em>"Jay Kay </em>[the director]<em> is 33 years old, and the son of Wwasp's chief director. He opened the facility at the age of 27. Previously he had been a petrol-pump attendant, having dropped out of college. He has no qualifications in child development, but considers this unimportant."</em>

It appears that they are nearly all situated outside the US, so that children can be moved there - sometimes forcibly - but the camps conditions do not come into question as the sanitation laws are less strict, and US child protection laws have no jurisdiction.

Even more disturbing are the <a href="http://fornits.com/anonanon/thought-reform/">accounts
</a> (also <a href="http://freerick.org/blog/carcar716/casaentries.htm">a journal of an inmate</a>) and <a href="http://www.voy.com/58570/">discussion boards</a>.

The one quote that really sums up what these places appear to do to people (and that actually catalysed me into posting this): <br><em>When I admitted in therapy that I was raped I was made to feel that it was my fault because of my behavior.</em>

And I sit here, privileged, and wondering why soldiers do these things in Iraq, and I honestly feel that I would prefer to be in Iraq than in one of those camps.

Isn't it time that we recognised that children have a right of habeas corpus, even if their parents think otherwise?
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