I, Andrew Stapleton declare and state as follows:
1. Pathway Family Center
2. Southfield, Michigan
3. Fall of 2002
I was at the Michigan location for a short period of time. My story is nowhere near as horrible and grotesque as some of the stories I have heard of or seen posted, but I definitely feel for the kids still being locked up at these hell holes. I feel that it is my duty to expose PFC for the fraudulent monster that it is.
PFC preys on families in crisis. Plain and simple. They see confused and heart broken parents (with cash) and misguided and alone youth and capitalize on the situation. I remember my first week very vividly. It was the most frightening experience of my life (and I’ve had a gun to my head before). I remember thinking “How the hell is this legal?!” Kids being held with no set release date, with no conviction, and not being able to contact the outside world (no lawyer, no parents, NOBODY). It was truly a situation where no one could hear you scream. You are given far more rights and freedoms in jail.
As I said, my experience was brief. I faked insanity after about a week and was sent to a psych ward where I told my parents everything. The Pathway staff made it very clear to me that there was no escape and that I would be coming right back after the psych ward. My parents knew things weren’t quite right about PFC but my telling them what was going on was confirmation of their worst fears.
Kids being restrained for talking back, being held onto at all times by other kids while moving around, being watched while going to the bathroom, being forced to sit for hours on end completely still and singing children’s songs was daily routine. How in the hell is this supposed to help addiction?? I remember seeing kids that were still on first phase after upwards of nine months. This means that they had not communicated with the outside world or had not been allowed to urinate without someone watching them for months! They had been sitting in chairs and singing ‘zip-i-dee-doo-da’ for 10 hours a day every day for almost a year. Please, someone tell me how this helps fight addiction/alcoholism!!!
The worst part was, like Jeff said, almost none of the staff had any professional credentials. The “staff” were just parents (which you had to call ‘mother’ or ‘father’) or former graduates. The crazies were running the asylum so to speak.
I am so glad for this website. I have managed to get over all of this and am about to graduate college. My heart goes out to kids still locked up in these places. I will do anything I can to join the fight against these abuses.