In 2005, 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson from was sentenced to probation after taking a joy ride with his stolen grandmothers car. Later that year, he violated his probation after trespassing on school grounds. His parents were given two options, either sending him to a juvenile detention center or boot camp. They chose boot camp as the better rehabilitation program, in hoping to change their son. Anderson lasted three hours at the Florida's Bay County Sheriff's Boot Camp before collapsing and being sent to the hospital, where he was declared dead the next morning. In those three hours, Anderson was required to run sixteen laps, unable to finish the drill instructors shoved ammonia to his face in order for him to regain consciousness and
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Both public and private, the troubled teen industry is an unregulated billion-dollar company. These programs believe in the approach that one must be broken both mentally and physically before being fixed. Also known as the “tough love” approach, treatments include corporal punishment, emotional attacks, humiliation, isolation, sleep and food deprivation, strict authoritarian leadership, harsh punishments, physical strenuous activities, and any other measures to turn a troubled teen to a productive member of society by the end of the program.
The first intensive therapy originated nearly five decades ago with Synanon, the first doctor-free drug treatment facility in the United States in California. Founded in 1958 by Charles Dederich, Synanon was aimed to fighting heroin and other drug addictions. Parents believed “that drugs could do far worse things to their children than a little rough treatment could” (Szalavitz). Dederich along with others began to live communally, while promoting the program as a cure and soon developed as a cult. His methods involved a game where “addicts were forced to endure hours of harsh criticism and attack therapy in order to gain self-awareness” (Kapela). New Jersey did a study which, “found that only 10 to 15 percent of participants stayed in the program for more than a few months and