(If you want to skip over this post on your dash press the J key)
People are getting all up in arms about Mitt Romney’s tax returns and how much money he made working with Bain Capital. But I see absolutely nothing about CRC Health Group and Aspen Educationbeing discussed alongside it. Nothing.
These are corporations aquired by Bain Capital in 2006, CRC Health Group being the corporation that owns Aspen Education. Aspen Education is a corporation that profits off of the “teen help and rehabilitation” industry. They have slick advertising and market their services to families with “struggling” teens, be it drug or alcohol abuse or getting a C in math class.
These facilities have a long history of physically, emotionally, and sexually abusing children and teens. There have been a slew of news stories over the past decade or more that are quickly forgotten that report on a “rehabilitation” clinic for teens where the unqualified counselors have done things such as solicit sexual favors from the kids they work with or even leaving them shut in a room to die because they claim the kid screaming in pain is lying to get attention.I’m not exaggerating.
And the abusers, the staff at these facilities, nearly always walk away unscathed. One of the reasons why is that their contracts they manipulate already vulnerable families into signing are potentially illegal. They demand that the parents or legal guardians of the child sign over legal custody to the facility, while in the same contract they deflect all responsibility for any harm, emotional or physical, that could befall the child, including death. And kids have died—see the articles linked above. They have been starved, denied medical attention, killed themselves, overheated, or frozen to death or nearly died because of these things.
But there are other human rights violations besides these that go on regularly at Aspen Education facilities. Clients (the kids and teens) are denied certain reading material, mail that is deemed “inappropriate” (letters from friends or non-facility-approved family members), private phone conversations (calls are very limited to begin with), immediate phone access to call police or their parents if something is wrong, personal property that is not “suitable”, even speaking to other clients is sometimes forbidden. This is a violation of civil rights, whether the client is a minor or not.
The facilities themselves are also atrocious, if the clients sleep inside at all (in Aspen wilderness programs there is no place to sleep indoors, even in winter or high summer). Clients are forced to clean as punishment, as Bain Capital cut massive costs to these already shady programs so there is no professional cleaning service to keep the living conditions sanitary. Medications (which are widely prescribed) are often administered by unqualified staff. There are often no trained nurses on the grounds—they may have been laid off or fired or simply quit and not replaced. Clients are packed 4-6 to a room that should only comfortably fit two kids and their belongings. Childen run the risk of being forced to live with kids who are violent and could harm their peers. The counselors are often questionably trained, and Aspen Education widely uses tactics of causing emotional damage to the child in their method of “therapy”. Food, water, sleep, and outdoor access can be denied as punishment in these programs. They psychologically break down the child to build them back up again, brainwashed.
Now what do families pay to have their children living like this? Anywhere from $6,000-$18,000 per month. There is obviously no financial aid or scholarships available. Wherever that money is going, it’s not to the facilities or even to pay the underqualified workers there (oftentimes they make minimum wage or a little over). That money is going straight to the executives of Aspen Education, CRC Health Group, and Bain Capital. Even though Romney “retired” in the early 2000s, he still kept a stake in the profits of the company and managed from behind the scenes. This means that Mitt Romney is making money off of abused children and teens. The corporations know about all these scandals or they wouldn’t be covering them up so well. People have tried to sue, but it is an unpleasant process that often ends with Aspen turning to their contracts and claiming they have no responsibility, or they settle it out of court and that’s it.
Oh but there’s more! For a small fee, escorts can be hired to kidnap the child from their own home to bring them to a program. They are recommended by Aspen, and parents sometimes comply and hire them. They will come to the house, grab the child or teen, handcuff them and bring them to the facility, sometimes crossing state lines to do so.
These human rights abuses are happening right now in the United States, with over 30,000 clients experiencing Aspen Education’s practices every day. This needs to stop, but the problem is that absolutely no one is talking about it. I’ve never seen a post about it on Tumblr, and the news that pops up about it goes away quickly and doesn’t make front pages. This is big. Families are being scammed and vulnerable young adults, teens and children are being tortured right here in our country and no one’s doing a thing.
Spread the word. Please. Don’t reblog if you don’t want to, but start doing research and talking about this with people. Bring it up when Romney is mentioned. Something needs to be done!