Warning: this write-up contains severe bits of highly Dickensian modern-day human tragedy...

Tranquility Bay is a private reeducation camp for American youth located in Jamaica.

Before I go any further, I would like to invite anybody who might have the slightest doubt about the accuracy of the facts presented here to go look for the full length article on Tranquility Bay that was published in the Sunday June 29, 2003 issue of The Observer; or better yet, look up Tranquility Bay's official homepage and check out what they have to say for yourself. That being said:

In a nutshell, and in the words of the camp director himself: Tranquility Bay is a 'behaviour-modification centre'. It was opened in 1997 and is operated by a US citizen called "Jay Kay", it is one of eleven such facilities owned by a Utah-based company named WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs) which specializes in helping you straighten up your kids by any means necessary.

For a hefty amount (about $40,000 a year), they will basically kidnap your messy teenager at your home and fly him against his will to Tranquility Bay where he will be forced to stay as long as deemed necessary for his "reeducation" (sometimes up to three years or until he reaches 18).

During their stay, the subjects (age 11 to 19) have to comply with a strict set of rules (no swearing, no talking for the younger ones, no right to intimacy, no communication with the outside world etc.) under penalty of corporal punishment or through other means of psychological retaliation.

Upon their arrival, "females" and "males", as they are called in Tranquility Bay's official lingo, are assigned to one of the twenty single-sex "families" where they are under the supervision of staff members known as "mothers" and "fathers". Along with thier "mum" or "dad", regular guards, called "chaperones", are constantly keeping an eye on everyone, ensuring that nobody's left alone for a second. Bathroom break requires granting of special permission and the "chaperon" stands at the door the whole time.

Officially, there is no corporal punishment at Tranquility Bay, only "restraint", where three or four Jamaican guards pick you, have your remove you watch, methodically pin you down on the ground in a five-point formation and "start twisting and pulling your limbs, grinding your ankles" until you learn your lesson. Alternatively, difficult kids are sent to the confinement room, where they must "lie flat on their face, arms by their sides, on the tiled floor" all day long, and sleep in the corridor at night before resuming the next day. The record for this "Observation Placement" treatment is held by a "female", as proudly announced by the director himself, and is of 18 months "on and off".

When not punished, the kids are supposedly receiving a "normal" high-school education through self-teaching textbook reading and regular validation tests sent in from US. The staff has no qualification whatsoever to help them in their studies.

Obviously, knowledge is merely regarded as an inconvenience that has to be dealt with in order to avoid truancy issues.

In order to be eventually returned to their parents, the kids must not only seriously amend and adopt the path to reason without discussion, they must convince a particularly disbelieving staff (who, after all, only has financial incentive in keeping them for as long as possible) of their utter sincerity and complete repentance.

The self professed goal of Tranquility Bay is not to teach the kids something or bring them to amend, it is to get full unconditional obedience and total submission, by "coercing children to rewire themselves". In essence, the ends justify the means, and the "end" here, is to produce a perfect all-american kid who loves and fear his parents, hates sex or any such form of perverted pleasures and above all submit to authority...

The US government, through its court system, apparently doesn't see anything illegal with US parents bypassing child protection laws by purposely sending their offspring to countries where legislation in this field is virtually non-existent (following a 1998 California ruling basically establishing parental choice as sacrosanct). Actually, Tranquillity Bay has received official endorsements from certain states in the form of court orders inviting the parents to send their kids there rather than having to deal with them back at home...

So much more could be said about the unsanitary living conditions, the mandatory "Emotional Growth" videotape sessions throughout the day, the fact that two other camps belonging to the same group were closed down by their host countries (in Costa Rica and Czech Republic) for blatant violations of child-abuse laws...

But the scariest part of it all is not to be found within the negative statements issued by the few kids who dare (or care) to speak up during or after their imprisonment. The most ghoulish, mind revolting parts are in the positive accounts given by satisfied parents and their proudly brainwashed reeducated progeny:

"She's a neat kid, she really is. She just didn't like us. But now, I don't believe she's lying to me any more, and that's a neat feeling."

A few "satisfied" parents actually question the mitigated results and wonder openly about their kid's complete loss of emotions:

"There's no lip, no back talk, no arguing, All of those things are nice, but I want normal kids. I don't want my kids doing drugs, but I don't want robots. I got back two strangers."

Even the most enthusiastic kids boasting their newfound respect for proper family values and thanking their parents for putting them through such a hell in order to save their souls... through their warmhearted thanks and polite manners, you cannot help but notice that strange robotic tone and complete absence of what could be interpreted as signs of humanity.

And you marvel at this triumph of modern society, and wonder if the obviously under-educated director is aware of how exactly he has implemented the detailed recipe for brainwashing people into submission as exposed in the last chapter of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (an efficient mix of physical and psychological punishment, confinement, redefinition of language and crushing of freewill).

All quotes, unless otherwise stated, are directly taken from The Observer or from the official webpage for the Tranquility Bay center