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Ethical Treatment for All Youth

Email: etay@ethicaltreatment.org

About the author


In 1992 I was placed at the Emily Griffith Center Larkspur location at the age of 14. I spent about a year there. The reason for placement was a sexual offense done when I was 13 in California. Basically I engaged in sexual acts with 3 neighborhood boys ages 13, 11, and 8. All of which were done consensually as admitted by the other boys themselves, meaning there was no physical force.

Upon placement I was placed in the sex offender treatment program at the Griffith Center. While I can't say that every tactic used by the Griffith Center in the course of their "treatment" effort was unreasonable, I believe that the treatment provided in its totality was definitly not mainstream. Every day the treament was intense and mind altering. Writing stories many pages in length about what I did sexually to people and extrapalating on how I accomplished access to your victims. As if, manipulation and coercion was used on a continual basis throughout my childhood. Although, this form of treatment was helpful in the long run as it helped identify behaviors that I used that I was not aware may have contributed to gaining access to my victims...the use of this information was detrimental to my sanity at age 14.

Take the above with the use of a Sex Offender Creed which had to be read publicly within the groups daily: "My Name is _________ among other things I am a sexual perpetrator. I did sexually perpetrate: (insert names of victims and actions done) etc." The staff members continually challenged you to come up with new victims constantly no matter the circumstances or issues involving the offenses. Several youth in the program constantly made up victims and offenses just to appear that they were complying with the treatment. All of which would be used against the youth in court at a latter time if they failed treatment.

The program also used colored jumpsuits to publicly identify High Risk behavior in the youth at the program. Orange Jumpsuits for runaway risk youth. Green Jumpsuits for Anti-Treatment youth. Blue Jumpsuits for sexually unaccountable youth. For a youth struggling with their sexuality if they engaged in a sexual act with another youth they were placed in the blue jumpsuit. They were more or less stigmatized with being Gay.

Among other treatment forms was the use of the Plethesmograph. Myself and another youth, which I still have contact with after all these years, were the first ones in the program to ever do this form of treatment. It involved putting a rubberband appearing contraption hooked up through a computer around your penis while you sat in a dark room with your pants to your ankles listening to various audio recording stories. The goal was to measure your arrousal to deviant and non deviant material. Although as a 14 year old with his pants to his ankle in a room anything touching the penis presented an arousal.

After the Plethesmograph an intense barrage of a form of treatment called Covert Tapes began. Basically, you had to create a sexually deviant story outloud on tape. The goal was to get as aroused as possible while doing these tapes in the planning stages of an sexual offense (the manipulation, coercion, etc.) but just before the actual act you switched gears attempting to disuade your arousal by making up an event that curbed the arousal such as: just before raping someone a police car drives by the alley you were in and flashes it's lights toward you. The weirdest part of these covert tapes is it made me 1.) Believe I was dangerous; 2.) Had me fantasize about things I never considered; 3.) Had me on tape talking about doing these crimes which I've never done and never will do all of which would end up in court one day if I failed treatment.

The use of a sex offender cycle was used at Griffith Center which signified that you would always be dangerous no matter what. The use of tools to prevent sexually acting out were extreme in some cases. I once went on a trip to the movie theater with the youth group and was required to wear a A.R.M. (Accountablility Reminder Mechanism) Band. Supposedly this would remind me that I was a sex offender and needed to watch my behavior. It was a florescent colored band you wore around your arm.

Several youth that I was at the Griffith Center program with were hospitalized for suicide attempts and psycotic episodes of some nature. For a young mind having to deal with the fact that you are so dangerous and will never change at all was a tough thing for some people. Especially when the treatment made you exaggerate your risk.

The living environment was also a bit intrusive. You were assigned 3 to a room and no 2 people could be alone in any room together alone. There was a pay phone that could be used on occassions located right next to the staff booth so they could listen in on conversation. The staff appeared to like catching parents supporting their kids too much and would hold phone therapy sessions on occassions to confront the parents. Mail both incoming and outgoing was monitored by staff members. Access to television was denied...in fact I don't recall ever seeing the news or TV and had very little idea what was going on in the world. There was one time they did show us a rated R movie though. It was about a little boy getting raped, I forget the name of it though. Masturbation material such as magazines pictures (yes, they actually encouraged this) had to be approved and initialled by staff members before you could take them into the bathroom to do what most teenage boys would do. They also required that you sleep with shorts on. No undergarments could be seen exposed.

The last thing I'd like to touch on is that at the age of 14 I was declared to be a pedophile by the psychologists at the Griffith Center. When I failed the treatment by running away this helped the court sentence me to the California Youth Authority, along with all the covert tapes and other writings I had produced for them. The most interesting thing was that I became really familiar with the requirements to be diagnosed a pedophile. One of which at the time was that you pretty much had to be 16 years of age and engaged or thinking about people significantly more underage than you.

Now at 28 years old as you can see I remember lots of things that occurred at the Griffith Center. The treatment there scarred me, brainwashed me, and dehumanized me. The above is the tip of the iceberg and nowhere gets into the extreme depth of brainwashing that occured at the Griffith Center. While I've never done another crime ever and I know I have no risk...because of the experiences at the Griffith Center I occassionally find myself watching where I look--because I don't want to look directly at a child. When those times occur I usually let reason take over, knowing that I am not attracted to children.

Submitted Feb. 17, 2006