181. Ironwood Maine

The private teen-prison Ironwood located in Maine was founded in 2006 with help from former employees who used to work for Turnabout Ranch in Escalante in Utah known for it tough approach throughout the world. Students from United Kingdom and Germany had been sent to Turnabout. In most cases the teenagers reversed to their old behaviors within months with one expection. The international known model Jemma Henley based her future career on the teachings learned in Utah.

Ironwood do use a level system where teenagers are placed at cabin without modern heating system. Maine can be very cold during the winter so for teenagers coming from as far away as Florida who is used to live in another climate it is close to abuse.

The family who is running the facility are very into horse breeding and is most likely using the operation of a troubled teen program to finance their expensive hobby.

Ironwood does not sound like a fun place to be sent to for a teenager.

Sources:

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About Rotsne

Danish immigrant, but very integrated. After having worked for another research center, I have recently started working for International Culture Exchange where I serve the youth and their families wanting to become an exchange student.

32 responses to “181. Ironwood Maine”

  1. Debbie says :

    Can you give me a place in New England where I could get help for my teenager? Thanks Deb debbab@comcast.net

    • Zach says :

      I just graduated from ironwood and this page is very very wrong. We don’t breed horses we live in a cabin with heat for a short time then move into a house everyone there is amazing so yeah

      • Rotsne says :

        The article doesn’t state that the students take part in the horse breeding. The family who owns the facility also live of horse breeding in another of their firms.

        The cabin “Frye” students enter at first used not to be heated using modern technologies. It was so in order to “motivate” them to confess to whatever it takes to graduate to the house creating a risk of false confessions.

        Frye where the students or detainees which you could call them because they cannot leave freely and they enjoy the basic rights teenagers in Maine’s juvenile detention facilities have can not wait to reach their 18 years birthday without pressure.

        Wayne from Turn-about ranch and his boot camp methods is long gone. They might have improved the conditions. State welfare agencies might have forced them to improve conditions. When this article was created it was done aided by students who have been there during Wayne’s reign.

        Recently they had a case with an employee who was arrested and trial is pending. Did you learn anything about this case while you were there?

      • Matt R says :

        hahaha… Ironwood doesn’t need a website anymore, they can just use this.

      • Cathy says :

        Zach, Congratulations on your graduation. My daughter is a graduate – 2008 and is getting ready to graduate college in a week. The tools you gained there will help you all throughout adult life, just as they have helped my daughter. Congratulations again!

    • Cathy says :

      Deb, I hope you’ve since found help for your teen. My daughter had just turned 15 when she went to Ironwood. I would highly recommend the program.

  2. Cathy says :

    You obviously know nothing about Ironwood Maine if you are still referring to employees who haven’t been there in more than seven years. My daughter graduated the Ironwood program in 2008 and the facility was outstanding. And yes, Frye cabins have heated floors and are quite nice. The staff and program are amazing and as a proud parent of a graduate 7 years ago, I think you need to get your facts sorted out before publishing such trash. Incidentally did I mention my daughter got ahead in her schooling, gained self esteem, bettered our family relationship and next week will be graduating college. Ironwood helps a lot of teens and I highly recommend this program to any parent considering getting help for their teen.

    • Rotsne says :

      We have written with several former students before we wrote this entry. We quickly discovered that it was nothing compared to the students life our students enjoy in college and find it hard to believe that a stay will benefit and prepare them for their future. During these years troubled youth worry us because once students redraw themselves from the Friday bars on our high schools campuses they are also among those if highest risk of leaving our country in order to start fighting for terrorist organizations like ISIS. It was the reason to create this blog after the creator of this blog discovered the anger a stay in a boarding school created inside him. We believe this blog has a purpose to better this world.

      However it seems that you had another experience and of course we respect your testimony. But the article remains as there are different opinions among former students concerning the effectiveness of this residential program.

      • Cathy says :

        Sheer nonsense reply – are you kidding me? ISIS? Unfollowing this blog for its utter insanity!

      • Ismah Akkar says :

        But it is true.

        I am not among the authors of this blog. I attended high school in Denmark. Due to my faith I dont consume alcohol. It led me to live an isolated life while I attended high school. I was shunned by my classmates. I was not bullied in any way but I was lonely because the center of the social life in high school was the friday bar where students consume a beer or two after school if they are not going directly to work.

        In Denmark the larger shops have put an end to smaller shops and supermarkets because they only have to have one adult in the store. The rest are aged below 18. I was so lucky that I was given a part time contract after I turned 18. Thats why a lot of students work even when they can get student grants because they might not have a lot of use for their high school diplomas. In fact the Danish government is perhaps the only one in the entire world who works for a lower percentage of students to graduate high school. Why should the country pay for education when no use their exams for anything? But that is another quesiton.

        Is it correct that students from Denmark has joined ISIS in larger numbers? Yes. Among the asylum seekers ISIS sent up preachers and false profets who actively roamed among our high schools and sought out those who didn’t attend the friday bars. Those who were lonely. Those who like me felt shunned. They were promised someone who would be with them. Easy pray. I didn’t fall for their false prayers. But I have lost two of my former best friends. They are not in Denmark anymore.

        I dont know this Ironwood. But I do know how to feel left out from society. When I read that someone can take their children away from daily life without social workers and the local school agreeing and even offer an alternative I find it dangerous. The authorities closed down several so-called private schools which were teaching dangerous religious texts – both Christian and Muslim schools have been closes

        The Danes are afraid. Afraid to lose their kids to Syria. Afraid that they might return and start shooting people like they did in Paris. We are not allowed to arm ourselves like you do in your country. We have open borders with no border control to Germany. Everybody can enter if the Mafia infected Italy or the bankrupt Greece cannot guard their borders.

        I have no clue whether this blog was created our of fear for ISIS alone or there are other motives. But the fear is real. I cry every day for my lost friends and because I know the isolation I experienced moved me close to travel myself.

      • MW says :

        I believe that what Rotsne has said was written very eloquently, Cathy seems to be doing mental gymnastics in order to justify her sending away of her daughter, and comes off rather ignorant in her statements here. It would help her to probably read the hundreds, if not thousands of testimonies coming from former residents of residential treatment centers around the U.S. that have had a difficult time coping with the fact that their inalienable human rights have been violated. As a former student who remembers the program before Cathy’s daughter ever arrived, I can attest to the fact that many of my rights were violated under Ironwood’s care.

        One major issue that Cathy refuses to recognize, is that Ironwood and many places like it offer a one-size-fits-all therapy to young adults with special needs, when these children clearly need individualized therapies to cope with their needs. At Ironwood, the same therapy for a child with depression is the same for a child with violent behaviors.

        Be very wary of all comments that attempt to discredit another’s testimony, as businesses like Ironwood use bots and spamdexing in order to keep their name clean and on top. Any college educated individual who is capable of doing non-biased research would come to the conclusion that Ironwood’s “therapy” is quackery at best.

  3. W Everett says :

    The description listed above is false and unfounded. Ironwood is not a prison…it is a state license school AND state licensed residential treatment center. It is completely false that most return to old behaviors in months…certainly some struggling teens do, but a vast majority move forward from this experience with healthy and improved relations with family members, improved academic success, increased self confidence and a desire to live better lives. It is completely false that there a no modern heating sytems, as all buiidngs have radiant or furnaced heat, full plumbing and electricity. There is no abuse at Ironwood and there is no basis for this statement? This is a high quality licensed facility and the internal oversight along with licensing oversight protects against this. The statement: “The family who is running this facility are very into horse breeding…” comment…this is totally unfounded speculation and an opinion that is baseless. Interestingly, the family who started Ironwood and did own horses, sold the school back in 2011 (5 years ago) and the current owners are not horse breeders, not horse owners or anything close to what has been described here.
    It may be correct that Ironwood is not a “fun” place as stated…it’s not supposed to be. Ironwood is a first rate residential treatment center for teenage boys and girls who are struggling in their current environment for a variety of reasons that CANNOT be generalized. Ironwood offers first rate therapeutic support, a personal educational plan and the opportunity to reset from current struggles with the long term mission of family reconnection. Ironwood is filled with hard working and dedicated staff who devote their time helping families to reunite. Ironwood can be fun, but it can also be hard and requiring of serious personal effort…this is life afterall.
    For those needing this kind of help and support, I suppose internet research is ok BUT the best way to find the truth is to see it for yourself. You can likely talk with the key people who work here, you can likely schedule a visit and see with your own eyes how well this place is run (or not) and it is also very likely that you can speak with other parents who have been in your position and have decided to partner with Ironwood. I suspect that there are hundreds of other Cathy’s out there who have kids graduating from college, getting accepted to college, starting their new adult lives, living with healthier attitudes and wanting to be part of their family systems after leaving Ironwood. Why would her comments be Spamdexing or bots?
    I have tried to keep my comments factual to make this resource more useful. We will see if I am attacked for this approach and if so, I will also unfollow this blog. For those out there who are worried about your son or daughters current state of being, I wish you better days ahead as you reach out for honest information and support. Good luck!

    • Rotsne says :

      You are entitled to have your opinion. No hard feelings about that.

      But we are talking of a place where parents can place their children without having the child services or the courts involved, which is a due process that could secure the children against any wrongdoing from the parents side. A place they cannot leave just because their parents decide to pay the bills. Such places need outside monitoring both regarding daily life and process which lead to the placement of the child. Otherwise local school district could find themselves involved in costly lawsuits when parents try to get their costs reimbursed. Lawsuits which damage the school districts economy which might lead to other children not receiving the quality of education they deserve.

      Sometime a placement outside the home is the only answer but if it is not properly discussed with the child before the placement recentment which can tear the family apart can be the result.

      Staying at Ironwood is hard. Look at what a former students writes on reddit:
      https://www.reddit.com/r/troubledteens/comments/3bp0yx/ironwood_rtc_in_maine_a_quick_retrospective/

      • W Everett says :

        I have seen this and I offer the following thoughts…first, this young man’s experience goes back a very long while, approximately 8 years ago. I understand that this place has been around for just under 10 years. I do believe that this person had a negative experience and that his personal experience did not turn out well, which is a shame.
        So, from my standpoint as I try to identify current truth, it’s far more challenging to travel back in time to 2008 and far easier to research what is going on today.
        This person states that this place is not licensed and it is, in fact licensed.
        There are two licenses that are valid and current…one with the Dept of Education and one with The Department of Health and Human Services.
        I do know that this place would be required to provide for necessary medical and dental care. This person states that he did not receive care in 2008 and I am not able to dispute his statement? However, it is confirmed that today, Ironwood provides full accommodation for medical and dental needs including routine dental examinations and physicals…personal needs are also met to include trips to the ER and specialist medical appointments, as needed. This is 100% fact.
        On privacy matters, there are examples given where personal writings were read by staff…and I will again assume that this young man was speaking the truth? What I know to be true today (not 2008) is that boys and girls at this place are required to write letters home to family several times each week as part of the family reconnection process. Today, there is a 3 letter per week requirement and one of the 3 letters is a public “uploaded” letter home that posts to a parent site…to include a general weekly update, a personal, therapeutic update and two pictures of the child, taken that week. This uploaded letter could be viewed by staff, but the others are sealed and stamped with full privacy. It is confirmed that if the uploaded letter is highly charged with anger, personal attacks, etc., staff may encourage or suggest a rewrite for the purpose of creating better balance in communication. This makes sense to me, especially when private communications are also received within similar periods of time.
        I don’t know, I suppose every health care or therapeutic environment experiences a success rate that is less than 100%. If any place were 90% successful (for example) in reuniting kids with their families and setting most up for high school diplomas, continued education and healthier living…that would be seen by most as an amazing and incredible outcome. But that doesn’t negate the truth for the 10% who failed to gain the benefits that were received by the other 90%.
        It is my belief that this site needs greater balance and understanding. This young man’s experience doesn’t mean that Ironwood is not a place of integrity today. Wouldn’t it be irresponsible if you failed to fully consider the positive benefits of Ironwood, based upon the content in an internet blog, or because of the comments of one teen who had a negative experience 8 years ago, while hundreds have been there since? Don’t take this 2008 testimony as gospel…don’t take my comments as gospel, nor those of Mr. Rotsne…fully research and if you need help, you have the ability to discover the truth as it exists today. Good wishes to all, including this 2008 student.

      • MW says :

        Haha, does W Everett work for Ironwood? How do you know so many details of the current state of the program, including that bit about the original founders selling the program five years ago?

        Are you on the clock right now?

    • MW says :

      “It is completely false that most return to old behaviors in months…”

      Do you have an academic source for this? Please provide information you can back up. Thank you.

      • MW says :

        “This young man’s experience doesn’t mean that Ironwood is not a place of integrity today. ”

        One last thought: Have the former or current owners of Ironwood done any work in addressing that young man’s experience? REAL integrity would involve addressing his negative experience. REAL integrity would involve a business taking the time to step up to the plate and writing a formal apology to that young man for the atrocities he had witnessed. REAL integrity would involve proving to that young man that they had taken the steps to change their policies. None of which they had ever done for him.

    • MW says :

      As a former resident myself, I encourage the comparison of this program to a privately owned prison, as that is EXACTLY the type of environment that is bred for teenaged boys that have been sent away from their homes. I scoff at “W Everett”‘s remark that Rotsne’s comparison is off base. Be realistic, and pay attention to the testimonies from residents themselves.

      Absolutely everybody considering sending their child to a residential treatment center should read Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s “The Lucifer Effect”, which analyzes very in depth, the dynamics of Situation. In his famous investigation into the cause of conflict between military guards and prisoners (the Stanford Prison Experiments), Dr. Zimbardo picked psychologically and physically fit test subjects and assigned them random roles of prisoner or guard:

      “The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo’s expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as the superintendent, permitted the abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners quit the experiment early, and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days, to an extent because of the objections of Christina Maslach.”

      Later on, Dr. Zimbardo uses this same study to explain how horrible things like Abu Ghraib and organized genocide are possible. This is precisely why you see terrible things happening out of residential treatment centers around the country.

      People can also visit https://www.reddit.com/r/troubledteens for well documented and sourced information regarding RTCs and boarding schools in the news.

  4. W Everett says :

    This place is doing great work today with kids graduating the program with high school transcripts greatly improved that often include high school diplomas. There have been multiple residents that have left Ironwood this year with acceptance letters to college, who weren’t expecting to even graduate high school 12 months prior. Dozens of hard working and dedicated employees whose mission it is to help struggling residents to find greater purpose and healthy ways to reconnect with family. An amazing place that has changed the trajectory of hundreds of families for the better. This position is shared by MANY parents and MANY teens who have graduated from Ironwood and have now moved on to the next chapters in their lives.

    • MW says :

      Shill reply…why don’t you provide the scientifically credible evidence to support your argument?

      • MW says :

        “W Everett” is most likely being paid by ironwood to post positive things about their backwards culture of a one sized fits all therapy approach. They havent the brains or the honesty (or both) to admit that the environment they have created for these minors is potentially abusive, with many former residents confirming just that–ironwood has shit all over many children’s civil rights. “W Everett” has also failed to mention that experiential credits earned at Ironwood translate as a C when credits are transferred out of state. If your kid does receive an education here, it will be subpar.

  5. W Everett says :

    This blog is outrageous…I provide my positive experiences and get attacked…I am indeed a fool for not realizing sooner that this is what happens to everyone who shares anything positive. Scientific/credible evidence??? I have seen it…I have experienced it. That’s it.

    • MW says :

      https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0185-residential-treatment-programs-teens

      Our own government has spoken out against residential treatment programs like ironwood. These places are unregulated, leaving the potential for abuse a reality. I am a resident who was abused by ironwood. “W Everett”, your argument is absolutely terrible if you have no evidence to support your claims.

      • MW says :

        I’ll go ahead and quote the Federal Trade Commission:

        “No standard definitions exist for specific types of programs. The programs are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health or educational facilities, either. A 2007 Report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programs. Many programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials, the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers, success rates, and endorsements by educational consultants.” That last bit sounds like you “W Everett”! Do you work for ironwood?

    • MW says :

      http://astart.fmhi.usf.edu/

      This is a wonderful resource that exposes the troubled teen industry, found from the FTC website listed above. I have spoken with the founders of ASTART. These people are research graduates, now PhDs, who have confirmed to me that the involved practices and “therapies” at ironwood violate many articles of the Geneva Convention. Simply put, Ironwood has treated children worse than we treat prisoners of war, and THAT my friend, is the proof in the pudding. “W Everett” is an Ironwood shill trying her hardest to justify the psychological and physical abuse of children because their paycheck depends on it. Despicable.

  6. W Everett says :

    I’m a grateful parent feeling no need to defend or further fuel. I didn’t intend to anger with my reported experience and fully expect that this final sign off mine will be met with further personal attack. Best of luck to all and onward to better energy ahead.

    • MW says :

      “It goes without saying that kidnapping and humiliating people until they internalize their captors’ belief system (they deserve to be incarcerated and have been saved through torture) is not medical help, nor has any evidence emerged of this being beneficial to anyone.”

    • MW says :

      I will also point out to you and many others, Ironwood’s hilarious history of deceit and hypocrisy by using their own website as my source.

      I shall begin with Exhibit A, a snapshot of the Ironwood website on Nov. 29th, 2006:
      http://web.archive.org/web/20061026014032/http://www.ironwoodmaine.com/faq.html

      “Are one-on-one therapy sessions offered?
      Ironwood provides every troubled teen with intensive one-on-one sessions every day, Monday through Friday. The use of group sessions to treat young people is used throughout the week and is effective when they are used in concert with individual therapies. However, it should be noted that it is possible for many important issues to go unaddressed in a program that relies too heavily on group interactions. That is why Ironwood focuses on one-on-one sessions that offer teens a unique opportunity to share privately, away from other troubled youth. If a program only offers one-on-one sessions a couple times a week, valuable treatment opportunities can be missed.”

      I will now point you to Exhibit B, a snapshot of the Ironwood website on Jan. 12th, 2007:
      http://web.archive.org/web/20070112000733/http://www.ironwoodmaine.com/faq.html

      “Are one-on-one therapy sessions offered?
      Ironwood provides every troubled teen with intensive one-on-one sessions, twice weekly. The use of group sessions to treat young people is used throughout the week and is effective when they are used in concert with individual therapies.”

      Let us now recap.

      On Nov. 29th, 2006 Ironwood advertises one-on-one therapy sessions five times a week. They also claim that “If a program only offers one-on-one sessions a couple times a week, valuable treatment opportunities can be missed.”

      A little over a month later, Ironwood completely scrubs that information from the website, now advertising one-on-one therapy sessions quite literally, a couple times a week…this contradicts their previous claims that “If a program only offers one-on-one sessions a couple times a week, valuable treatment opportunities can be missed.”

      What was that transition like for the kids who were receiving therapy five times a week, to suddenly start having therapy sessions only twice a week?

      Who was involved with attempting to cover up their promises towards parents and the residents themselves?

      I SMELL A SKUNK!!

  7. egc says :

    My son was at Ironwood for 6 months in 2010. The only positive aspect was that there was no physical or mental abuse. It is true that they had no mattresses for the first week and had to hand wash their clothes during the time in Frye. There was one on one counseling twice a week. After the first two months, one of those was a Skype session with child, counselor and parents. These sessions were very superficial. There was never any attempt to determine if there was an underlying psychiatric issue. There was also no treatment for substance abuse other than one weekly group meeting. My biggest complaint was that the educational program was terrible. Being at Ironwood, my son missed the last half of his junior year. He had learning issues which contributed to his behavior problems. These were never addressed in the “part-time” half day, academic sessions. Considering that most teens with serious behavior problems, also have academic issues, a good educational program should be a priority. Because he was so far behind when he returned to his regular school in his senior year, he ended up dropping out of school, less than a month after it started. As far as I am concerned, the $60,000 + that I spent could have been flushed down the toilet. When he returned home, he was so angry that he spiraled out of control and his behavior was worse than when we sent him away. At least four of the kids in the program with him also deteriorated when they came home. It is now 6 years later and he is, after a detour of several years, on a positive path. This has nothing to do with Ironwood, but rather with maturity and love and patience. I am glad for those parents whose children benefitted from Ironwood. For me, it was the worst decision I ever made.

    • MW says :

      ” It is true that they had no mattresses for the first week”

      LOL. I didn’t have a mattress for over a hundred days. Was told by a staff named Gordon Thayer that if we were caught using anything as a pillow we were to be punished. Most we had was an army blanket and egg crate foam on particle board. Fuck ironwood. No kidding those kids spiraled out of control afterwards…nothing about it prepares you for the real world, and the statistics places like ironwood advertise are studies conducted by the organizations thenselves…ironwood loves pseudoscience

  8. Justin says :

    this place is literally he’ll on earth I am now 27 years old and still have night terror about getting woken up at 4am and dragged out of my home and locked in a white van to be taken away 12 hours away from philly to Maine at this camp where you are surrounded by 30 miles of woods in every direction, which me and 2 other kids Dave and Tyler escaped from after 3 months and finally earning back my shoes because they give you size 15 boots and constantly watched while in impact which is small circle you have to stay in from 6am – 9pm and get a blank notebook and a pen and plain white rice and an apple to eat during the day because you have to earn the right to eat better food and condiments, I watched staff member like Dylan throw a Jewish kid in a thorn bush I heard about girls (brianna) who were sexually taken advantage of by staff members, and Jeremy was the worst psycho staff member of them all and Gordon has some serious anger issues as well although he may seem nice at times they all have an evil agenda and are power hungry to feel some satisfaction of putting kids through hell and using them as free laborers to make their ”residental treatment center” look better, they only care about money given by rich parents like mine and refused to refund them when I escaped their facility and chose to spend the next 6 months in juvie until the judge said either my parents have to come get me or they will release me on the street as an emancipated youth. my name is justin and if you have been to that evil and sick facility it will haunt you for the rest of your life as it has caused me permanent sleep disorders. I was sent there because I got a tattoo across my chest when I turned 17 and my parents though it look satanic so they sent me there, the staff members read every letter you send and if you say anything negative about their facility they will refuse to send them, I did not receive medical attention when I was sick with pneumonia when I first arrived as well as any bandages for my new tattoo. you have to earn a mattress then earn a pillow when you get there and sleep on wooden logs. you are allowed 1 shower every 3 days and hand wash your clothes with a metal board and detergent , you build rock walls in a fashion similar to the movie holes. if you have any question feel free to ask and parent don’t ruin your kids by sending them to places like this grow some balls and raise your children instead of pay someone to do it for you. otherwise don’t be a parent. I have 2 beautiful children now and couldn’t imagine anyone treating them the way they do especially since the staff members don’t have kids themselves. this place needs to be shut don’t and sued immediately, I can’t believe it still exists!!!

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