Straight, Inc. Survivor's Letter Requesting Acknowledgement and an Apology
- Nancy Reagan, President George Bush, Sr., Former Straight, Inc. Executives, Other Responsible Partie
- United States of America
Related links with more information, documents, survivor accounts, media coverage, etc. about Straight Inc.
"Straight, Inc. (1976-1993) publicly claimed to rehabilitate teenage drug users by using tough love and Alcoholics Anonymous principles. Straight, Inc. provided NO professional counseling: Straight, Inc.'s "treatment model" relied exclusively on "positive peer pressure" from unprofessional staff (program graduates) and from the teenage clients. Straight, Inc. claimed to have an astronomically high success rate and was supported by both the Reagan and Bush administrations."
"However, Straight, Inc. did not publicly reveal what many survivors will tell you. The REAL Straight, Inc. was a facility that used coercive thought reform (aka mind control, brainwashing), public humiliation, sleep & food deprivation, extremely harsh confrontational tactics, kidnapping, isolation and emotional, mental, psychological, verbal and physical abuse to forcibly break us down then remold us in the Straight, Inc. image. Straight, Inc. also operated in secrecy, just like a cult (Straight, Inc. has been listed on at least 2 cult expert websites). No outsiders were ever permitted to know what really went on. Straight's rules and our fear of harsh punishment prevented us from talking to outsiders or from reporting abuses."
http://survivingstraightinc.com/straight_articles_and_information - lots of articles, books, radio shows, etc. here written by journalists, cult and drug war experts, addictions experts, etc.
Also, here is a link to the petition that was posted on another site - the old version has technical difficulties that cannot be repaired - 583 signatures collected there.
We assembled together to collectively remember those former clients of Straight. Inc. who have passed away.
Some took their own lives shortly after enduring severe mistreatment and abuse while in Straight, Inc. Others committed suicide for unknown reasons or passed away due to various causes.
Feeling connected to one another by our common traumatic experience in Straight, Inc., Survivors also joined together to acknowledge our personal loss and the pain and suffering stemming from that horrifying ordeal. Many of us lost our integrity, our innocence, our sense of self worth, our youth, our ability to trust others, our family relationships, etc. In addition, many of us still suffer from diagnosed psychological disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, severe depression, social phobias, panic disorders, etc. caused by our imprisonment in Straight, Inc. Many Survivors still endure vivid Straight, Inc. nightmares, can still hear the screams of children as they were abused, and cannot forget the abuse we personally endured or witnessed as vulnerable children.
We, the undersigned, Survivor’s of Straight, Inc., respectfully request public acknowledgement from you that Straight, Inc. unjustly committed various crimes, abused children, and utilized extremely unethical practices against innocent young clients, which included, but were not limited to the following:
1) Brainwashing (aka coercive thought reform);
2) Physical abuse;
3) Usage of illegal and or unethical restraints – children routinely restrained children at the direction of staff for minor infractions (i.e. not motivating, not paying attention, etc.);
4) Unethical forms of extreme humiliation, including but not limited to; beltlooping, no privacy/watched while urinating, defecating, or bathing, motivating;
5) Food deprivation (ie. peanut butter diets, inadequate portions of food);
6) Sleep deprivation – caused by unwarranted, prolonged daily group hours (12), other time spent in the building (up to at least 3 additional pre and/or post group hours), lengthy commuting time, and in many cases, due to intentionally withholding sleep as punishment for not “cooperating” to coerce compliance;
7) Verbal abuse – unduly harsh confrontational tactics that included swearing, screaming, yelling, spitting, belittling, humiliating, etc., a child in front of a large group of child clients;
8) Sexual abuse;
9) Psychological abuse;
10) Coerced confessions;
11) Unjustifiable and lengthy isolation in intake and/or time out rooms;
12) Denial of necessary medical care;
14) False Imprisonment;
15) Accepting clients with little/no drug history (the so-called “dry druggie” theory);
16) Employing uneducated, unprofessional teenage staff.
In addition to acknowledgment that the above-mentioned abuses, crimes, and unethical practices occurred, we respectfully request your formal apology for the following; allowing the abuse, unethical practices and crimes to continue for years, lending your name to, sponsoring, recommending, and/or endorsing Straight Inc., for sending children to Straight Inc., or for failing to properly and/or adequately oversee and monitor Straight, Inc.
We, the Survivors of Straight, Inc. are the walking wounded, but we walk with our heads held high as a community, determined to overcome the injustice we were forced to endure as children while held in Straight, Inc. We are all fighters who feel empowered by the strength we draw from each other. Many Straight, Inc. Survivors are also determined to be healthy, prosperous and productive adults and are resolved to heal and move on.
The community of Straight, Inc. survivors has taken many steps toward healing. Each of us has taken a different approach: some have sought therapy, many regularly communicate and lean on each other for support, and some participate in activities geared toward educating the public about harmful “treatment” methods, etc. On November 11, 2006, we took another step by holding a memorial service to remember all who were lost. Yet closure is elusive. Receiving acknowledgement and the apology we are owed from those who once had the power to help us, but for whatever reason failed to protect us, would be a significant step toward resolving the flagrant injustice of Straight, Inc. and would facilitate our healing process.
Straight, Inc. Survivors
**the request for apology does NOT apply to former group/peer staff, it applies to former executive level staff
***other responsible parties applies, but is not limited to - other people with a responsibility to protect children such as judges who sent children to Straight, child protection agencies who ignored complaints, other responsible oversight agencies, Mel & Betty Sembler who were the founders of Straight, Inc. and countless others who turned a blind eye to the obvious abuse occurring at Straight Inc. or to others who promoted Straight.