This is the History of and Reporting Guide for Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek, AZ

(a.k.a. Arizona Boys Ranch, Rite of Passage, Sycamore Canyon Academy second location in Oracle)


On this page you will find incomplete staff and complaint histories with sources cited (i.e. Progress Report), the general advisory against segregated congregate care with sources cited, and a reporting guide for those unlawfully harmed or firsthand witnesses to unlawful harm by or at this location to report violations of the law to the proper authorities/law enforcement.  The staff list itself will not be updated with additional names out of a sense of fairness where those providing the names ask for anonymity or confidentiality.  And, this program will remain eligible for merciful release if all criteria are met and no guest sermon is provided by a qualifying sponsor by that time.  In the meantime, it can graduate the COPE Conversion Program by meeting the Honesty In Marketing Standards (HIMS) or permanently close to be removed from the watch-list/released from the COPE Conversion Program.  If permanently closed prior to graduation or merciful release, it will be buried in the virtual graveyard.




Additional Information
Simon Ocampo Coach  Ocampo is a certified Physical Education teacher in AZ. Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed  Ocampo is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Mark Yockus Principal In March of 2000, Arizona Boys Ranch changed its name to Canyon State Academy. The name change followed the 1998 tragic incident at the Oracle facility, but was based on new marketing strategies that took place during that time. It continues to operate as a nonprofit organization with Rite of Passage (a for profit company) as a management company and ran by a Board of Directors responsible for the operations.  Yockus reportedly no longer works for this program and now works at Mission Academy.  Yockus is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  Yockus is a certified Prnicipal in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Lynn Croom Principal Secretary  Croom is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  Croom is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Jay Reichenberger Asst. Principal/Dean of Students/Athletic Director Reichenberger has been with Arizona Boys Ranch since 1999 (possibly earlier).  Reichenberger reportedly no longer works for this program.  Reichenberger is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:   Reichenberger is a certified secondary teacher with approved subject of Social Studies.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dr. Greenfield (no first name given) Team Physician Greenfield reportedly no longer works for this program.  HEAL requires Dr. Greenfield's full name in order to verify licensure. 
Troy Watson Coach Watson reportedly no longer works for this program.  Watson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  Watson holds only provisional secondary license/certifications with approved subject of history (2013).  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dan Aning Coach Aning reportedly no longer works for this program.  Aning is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  Aning is not a licensed/certified educator (2013).  (Formerly licensed, but, not currently at time of this writing in 2013.)  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Mannie Lopez Coach  Lopez is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  HEAL requires Mannie's full legal name and date of birth in order to verify credentials.
Paul Collinsworth Coach Collinsworth reportedly no longer works for this program.   Collinsworth is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  Collinsworth is not a licensed/certified educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Paul Graham Coach Graham reportedly no longer works for this program.  Graham is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:  HEAL requires Graham's date of birth in order to verify teacher certification or lack thereof.
Mike Brown Coach  There is a Michael J. Brown (may be a different person) that is a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist.  HEAL requires Brown's full name to verify.  HEAL requires Brown's full name and date of birth to verify whether or not Brown is a licensed educator in AZ.
Tracey Watkins Coach Watkins reportedly no longer works for this program.  Watkins is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:   Watkins is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Dave Nelson Coach Nelson reportedly no longer works for this program.  Nelson is a licensed educator in AZ and is licensed to coach sports and teach English.  Source: AZ Department of Education documents submitted by Nelson.
Al Waters Founder Waters is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Howard Pyle Founder (former governor of Arizona)    Pyle is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
George Miller Founder Miller is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Jack Barnes Supporter Jack and Leo donated the property to start Arizona Boys Ranch.  HEAL did not do a background check on Barnes because Barnes does not actively work with youth at this program.
Leo Ellsworth Supporter Jack and Leo donated the property to start Arizona Boys Ranch.  HEAL did not do a background check on Ellsworth because Ellsworth does not actively work with youth at this program.
Barry A. McBride Board of Directors His community involvements and professional affiliations include: Chairman of the Board, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance President, Central Arizona Estate Planning Council Board of Directors, Canyon State Academy Advisory Council, Canyon State Academy Morale and Ethical Trainer, Canyon State Academy Financial Advisory Member, Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation Past President, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Member, Million Dollar Round Table, Honor Roll, Top of the Table Member, Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, Diamond Knight Member, General Agents and Managers Association Foundation Member, Society of Financial Service Professionals Member, Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Past President, NAIFA Arizona Past President, NAIFA Phoenix Past President, Arizona General Agents and Managers Association B. A., Grand Canyon University Chartered Life Underwriter Accredited Estate Planner Registered Representative, Capital Analysts, Incorporated, Member, FINRA – SIPC   McBride is also with Sun Cornerstone Group.  McBride is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Donald R. Alvarez Board of Directors Attorney in Scottsdale, AZ.  Alvarez is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Elizabeth Gonzalez Vice Principal HEAL requires Gonzalez' full name and date of birth to verify teacher certification/licensure.
Louis Ruesing Asst. Principal Ruesing is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
James "Ski" Broman President Broman is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Brian Heath Site Admin. Heath is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
John Motley Bus. Director Motley is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Jay Trost Group Living Dir. Trost is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Paul McCurtain Student Services Dir. McCurtain is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Craig Cutshaw Athletic Dir. Cutshaw is not a licensed educator in AZ.  Source: e-mail from AZ Dep't of Ed
Niles Jackson Shift Supervisor Jackson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Steve Aderholt Shift Supervisor Aderholt is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
David Woodson Shift Supervisor Woodson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Shane Wilson Unit Mgr. Wilson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Thomas Robinson Unit Mgr. Robinson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Derrick Jamerson Unit Mgr. Jamerson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Steven Bates Unit Mgr. Bates is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Hurl Beecham Unit Mgr. Beecham is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Robert Bennett Unit Mgr. Bennett is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Alan Parker Unit Mgr. Parker is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
James Cobb Case Mgr. Cobb is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Scott White Case Mgr. White is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Mary Gohram Case Mgr. Gohram is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Michelle Delacruz Case Mgr. Delacruz is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Lasha McPherson Case Mgr. McPherson is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Emily Kamutse Case Mgr. Kamutse is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Anthony Abdo Case Mgr. Abdo is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Derrick Cooper Case Mgr. Cooper is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Michael Scott Case Mgr. Scott is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Dana Bennett Case Mgr. Bennett is not a licensed mental health professional in AZ.  Source:
Drew Wright Unit Mgr./ (encanto cottage) Wright is reportedly a former staff sergeant in the US Army.  Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/4/22.
Gabriel Carillo Coach Counselor (encanto, camelback and superstition cottages) Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/4/22.  Reportedly a former specialist in the US Army.
Vincent Mark Unit Mgr. (butler cottage and encanto cottage) Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/4/22.
Jacob Garcia Former Staff Reportedly currently works for Oasis Behavioral Health in Chandler, AZ.  Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/5/22.
Chase O'Haver Coach Counselor Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/5/22.
Darnell Hicks Coach Counselor Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/5/22.
Michelle de la Cruz Staff Reported to HEAL via e-mail from survivor on 7/5/22.
OTHER OTHER The staff attrition rate at this facility is reportedly so high that coaches stay no longer than a few months.
Memorial Site-- Lorenzo Johnson, died June 27th, 1994 at Arizona Boys Ranch
Memorial Site-- Nicholas Contreras, died March 2nd, 1998 at Arizona Boys Ranch

In Arizona, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on misdemeanors, 7 years on most felonies, and no statute of limitations on more serious felonies including rape and murder.  For civil suits in Arizona, the statute of limitations is 2 years.  Here are your options:
1.  Report crimes such as fraud, assault, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Arizona.  You can call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 602-876-1011 to inquire about filing an official complaint which may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution. 
2.  File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Canyon State Academy and include your request for compensation for any harm done to you.  If your home state is Arizona or you'd like to file with the Arizona State Attorney General as a non-resident, here is that link: 
3.  If you do not wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact a private personal injury attorney and look into suing in tort/civil court.  However, if you can't afford the retainer, you should expect to settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement which may bar you from speaking publicly about the incident because you've agreed (even if with a grumbling assent) to the terms of the settlement. 
4.  You may send a new e-mail to with subject "Post My Feedback" and we will post your feedback (e-mail printed to .pdf disclosing your name and e-mail address and any information in your e-mail with that subject) to  and add a direct link to those .pdf files to this page . 

 5. You may also wish to provide a guest sermon.  Guest sermons are posted at , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at where appropriate, and on program info pages when applicable.  So, one provided by you on your program would also be placed on this page .  Guest sermons should be written into the body of an e-mail and sent to . Your first and last name will be disclosed (contact info will not be unless you expressly request disclosure).  For sermons available on our site see  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact Please see  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.

PCSO: More 911 calls coming from Sycamore Canyon Academy by Catherine Holland Video report by Tanya Mendis Posted on November 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM Updated Tuesday, Nov 11 at 5:37 PM ORACLE, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says it is seeing a spike in 911 calls from a treatment facility that serves troubled teen boys. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu attributes the increase in calls from Sycamore Canyon Academy to the recent placement of several unaccompanied minors from Central America there. According to PCSO, there were eight calls from Sycamore Canyon between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10, 2013. Half of them were hang-ups and two were reporting runaways. Although there was one call each for threatening and disturbing the peace, there were no calls for any violent incidents. A number provided by PSCO shows 13 calls during the same time timeframe this year, nearly half of them involving some kind of violence. Five calls involved assaults on students and staff and one reported criminal damage. "Clearly there's an uptick in violent acts," Babeu said. The most recent call was Wednesday, Oct. 8. PSCO says a 13-year-old from Colombia used a tube sock filled with three bars of soap to attack a 74-year-old Sycamore Canyon staff member who had been called by another boy. Babeu said the teen swung the soap-filled sock "almost like a bat" and hit the man in the head. Other staff members restrained the teen and called 911. The teen who originally called the staff member to request an inhaler denied any involvement in the attack. He and other juveniles that detectives interviewed said there was no plan to attack the staffer, according to PCSO. Deputies took the teen, who has since turned 14, into custody, but said he refused to answer questions without a lawyer. Babeu said the teen was one of as many as 50 juveniles from Central America sent to the facility. He was placed there in July. "These were the ones that came from Texas, were then flown here and bused down to this academy," he said. "This is a population that we haven't been able to assess." Babeu said his office has requested information about the boys sent to Sycamore Canyon Academy, but was denied. "Law enforcement was never provided with the profiles or criminal histories of the unaccompanied juveniles coming from Central America and being placed into our communities," he said in a statement. He also said he believes that "a reasonable person" would see a connection between the recent 911 calls his department has received and the transfer of the Central Americans teens to Sycamore Canyon Academy. Babeu said numerous Oracle residents have contacted his office to express their concerns about what's happening at Sycamore Canyon. Babeu has been outspoken in his disapproval of the government's handling of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who are in the U.S. illegally. "I've said from the very beginning ... the most humane response from our country and the federal government is to have these juveniles from Central America put on a plane and sent back to their country of origin and reunited with their families," he explained. The teen involved in the Oct. 8 incident was booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault. Sycamore Canyon Academy opened in 2007 and is part of Rite of Passage, a national organization that provides programs and opportunities for troubled and at-risk kids. According to its website, the academy features a six-month program built around "cognitive behavioral therapy as our therapeutic approach to changing troubled behavior." Oracle is a small mountain town about 30 miles north of Tucson. The 2010 census put Oracle's population at a little more than 3,600. Read more:
Riot at Rite of Passage leads to fires, escapes David Jacobs, RGJ 6:33 a.m. PST March 2, 2015 Smoke billows from a fire in a maintenance shop building to the west of the gym that is seen (lighted building) Saturday evening at Rite of Passage-Silver State Academy.(Photo: Keith Trout/Mason Valley News) 26 CONNECT 15 TWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE A riot broke out Saturday night at the Rite of Passage youth facility near Yerington, leading to fires and the initial escape of 10 people, the Lyon County Sheriff reported. Sheriff Al McNeil provided the information Sunday in a Facebook post. "I do not know the riot's root cause," McNeil said. "Six escapees were later caught; however, as of this morning, four were still at large." Details on the at-large youths were not available. The riot included two structure fires, McNeil said. A fire photo, posted on Twitter by Keith Trout of the Mason Valley News, shows heavy smoke coming from a building. The extent of fire damage is not known. No injuries were reported. "Nine deputies spent most of the night assisting tribal police," McNeil said in the post. Messages seeking further details were left Sunday at the sheriff's office and Rite of Passage. According to its website, Rite of Passage's Silver State Academy serves boys 14-17 who have a history of delinquent behaviors, mild mental health issues and special education needs. It "has been providing residential treatment services to at-risk-male youth who are provided skills and opportunities to turn their lives around since 1987," the site states. The facility is at 100 Rosaschi Lane. In December, large-scale fights at Rite of Passage prompted calls for law enforcement and emergency medical responders, the Mason Valley News has reported.   Source:
Uprising at juvenile camp leads sheriff to call for changes Associated Press By SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press3/4/2015 © AP Photo/Mason Valley News, Keith Trout This Feb. 28, 2015 photo shows smoke rising from a fire at the Rite of Passage Silver State Academy near Yerington, Nev. Authorities are investigating a riot at a juvenile rehabilitation camp in northern Nevada where two… RENO, Nev. — School officials insist that everything is back to normal after a riot at a juvenile rehabilitation center in rural western Nevada. But the local sheriff says the neighboring town is on edge and "at its wits' end" following the latest in a series of violent outbursts by the teenagers. Two buildings at the youth camp on the edge of Yerington were set on fire, four staff members were hurt and 10 of the youths were on the run over the weekend after escaping the facility that doesn't have a fence to lock in its troubled population. Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil said he is worried it could be worse, that someone might get killed. He's pressing officials at the Rite of Passage Silver State Academy to make changes so it doesn't happen again. "I've had public safety concerns over the years because there is no fencing to keep them on the property," McNeil told The Associated Press. "They break into my citizens' homes and steal keys and steal cars. My community is at its wits' end right now." "This is rural Nevada, and every home has a gun. My biggest concern is one of these kids will go into a house at 2 a.m., and there will be a farmer or a rancher there — and we'll have a fatal shooting. In Nevada, that would be a justifiable homicide, but nobody wants to see that," he added. No one was seriously injured, but one staff member had to be treated at a local hospital after Saturday night's incident, McNeil said Tuesday. The state fire marshal is investigating the arsons, and Yerington Tribal Police are probing the cause of the riot — the fourth uprising in four months at the school for at-risk teens, McNeil said. The camp is on tribal land about 8 miles north of Yerington and 70 miles southeast of Reno. McNeil said several youths "made a bunch of improvised weapons," but he had no further details about the incident or nature of the minor injuries. "You break a table leg, and then you have a club," McNeil said. Six of the escapees were captured shortly after the riot that broke out about 8 p.m. Saturday, and the other four the next morning, he said. One building housing the laundry and another with a maintenance shop suffered an undetermined amount of fire damage. The academy is a nonprofit, licensed and accredited charter school operated by the Rite of Passage Adolescent Treatment Centers and Schools, which is based in Minden, Nevada, and sponsored by California's El Dorado County Office of Education. Rick Wright, corporate human resources director for Rite of Passage, said he couldn't comment on details or the status of the youths who were involved because of confidentiality requirements regarding juveniles. "We had an unpredictable situation," Wright told the AP. "We are studying the events of what happened so we can prevent them in the future." "We were well staffed up, but we've upped the staffing as a preventative measure," he said Tuesday afternoon from Minden, which is about 40 miles south of Reno. "Operations have gone back to normal. Everything was back to normal by Sunday." The school is required to have one staff member on site for every eight youths, "and we were well in excess of that — approximately 3-to-1," Wright said. He estimated that there were about 25 youths at the school at the time. He said he couldn't comment on what sparked the uprising. "I'm not at liberty to say. It's still under investigation," Wright said. Officials for the El Dorado County Office of Education in Placerville, California, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. John Dibble, chairman of the school's advisory board, said school officials are considering changes to improve safety at the facility that opened in 1987. "I'm devastated that once again we were a threat to the community, and that's not something we enjoy being," he told KOLO-TV in Reno. McNeil said this isn't the first time there has been trouble at the camp. There were three less serious riots during a two-day period at the school in December, he said. The school's website said it provides counseling, educational, vocational and athletic programs for boys ages 14 to 17 "with a troubled past." The majority are sent there on court orders as an alternative to prison. "We are disappointed with the actions of a few of our students, and those responsible will be held accountable," the school said in a statement on its website. "We are still positive that our program benefits disadvantaged youth and will be evaluating future admissions." Most of the youths are sent there from neighboring California, McNeil said. Yerington Tribal Police did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.  Source:
Out of sight - Out of mind!  Bring Maryland kids back to Maryland, or at least no further away than neighboring states.  
by Anonymous Contributor (via e-mail on 1/31/16)

The Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit (JJMU),  an oversight division of the MD Office of Attorney General, in a December 2015 3rd Quarter Report cited, " on two separate occasions during the quarter, boys that DJS sent to the Canyon State facility in Arizona sustained significant injuries, reportedly during inappropriate restraint procedures utilized by facility staff. According to reports, the boys had their arms held behind their heads during the restraints while they were in a seated position with both legs extended in front of them. Their heads were then forcefully pressed to their knees for an extended period of time as staff took turns maintaining the restraint. One boy had difficulty breathing during the restraint and suffered knee and face injuries. The other boy suffered from a compression fracture to his back". ( )    

As correctly noted in another discussion posting on this forum, The operator of Canyon State Academy in Arizona is Rite Of Passage Inc, the same for-profit company that owns and operates Silver Oak Academy in Carroll County Maryland. Over the years, monitoring reports from western states have cited ongoing concerns regarding Rite Of Passage Inc's misuse of physical restraints. Rite Of Passage was a proponent of boot camp-type programs and a young man died in one of their camp programs in 1992 (  Child Meets Violent Death in Desert Boot Camp ).  

I question the $60,000,000 million contract amount for only 48 beds at Silver Oak Academy cited previously within this forum, but I did manage to locate that same figure in Board of Public Works meeting minutes. I also was able to find concerns in prior JJMU reports of misuse of physical restraint by the Silver Oak Academy program. That seemed deeply concerning in light of the fact that the previous tenant,  Bowling Prep School,  that operated on the same site where
Silver Oak Academy currently operates was closed down because of an earlier restraint-related death. Why does Maryland continue to send the state's youth to far away out-of-state programs in the western United States? Interestingly, research also revealed that a youth died in a restraint-related death in the late 1990's on the Arizona site where Rite Of Passage, Inc. now operates the Canyon State Academy that was cited in the JJMU's 12/2015 report.  

Interesting how Rite Of Passage had a kid die in a restraint at their Nevada camp in 1992 and then proceeds to takeover and buy programs in Arizona and Maryland that were closed due to restraint related deaths.

All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public.  The HEAL Mission of COPE (HEAL) found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see feedback.  Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims.  We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-lis/enrolled in the Conversion Program to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims.  We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources.  In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction. 

HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily.  In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed.  Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See for more information.  Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements legal guardians must sign assuring the program that the parents/legal guardians have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case.  In fact, in the David Taylor case found at , Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants.  His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so. 

Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice.  And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them.  And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA. 

HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:

a.  Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation.  It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment.  For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at  Or, see:  which includes in part:    "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b.  Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive.  Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights.  Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at  "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)."  (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: and

Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective.  You can request these documents via e-mail.  In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services.  Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know"  for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "Emancipation Guide".
17-year-old Canyon State Academy student dies after being found unresponsive Chelsea Curtis, Arizona Republic Published 6:39 p.m. MT Jan. 23, 2020 CLOSE CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE Maricopa County Sheriff's Office marked vehicle (Photo: Nathan J. Fish/The Republic ) A 17-year-old student at Canyon State Academy died Tuesday after he was found unresponsive, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Thursday. The teenager was found unresponsive about 11:30 p.m. when emergency personal responded to the academy at 20061 E. Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek, the sheriff's office said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff's office. His name was not released. Details about the events leading up to the teenager's death were not provided by the sheriff's office. His cause of death has not yet been determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office and the investigation is ongoing. For more stories that matter: Click here to subscribe to A spokesperson for the academy did not immediately respond to The Arizona Republic's requests for comment. Canyon State Academy was founded in 1948 for at-risk children and adolescents, according to the academy's website. It has a residential program with academic, career and technical training, athletics and more. It is now operated by Rite of Passage, which is a national provider of therapeutic and educational programs for youth, the website states. The academy was previously called the Arizona Boys Ranch before it was changed to Canyon State Academy in April 2000, the Republic reported. The change was meant to signify a fresh start for the organization after years of scrutiny after the death of Nicholaus Contreraz, a 16-year-old boy who collapsed while being punished in May 1998. Source:
August 13th, 2020: CONVERSION PROGRAM PROGRESS REPORT: Rite of Passage/AZ Boys Ranch/Canyon State Academy (ROP)


 Last Updated: February 24th, 2023

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