Reporter Raphael Rowe visits Tranquility Bay in Jamaica, a correctional institution set up specifically to deal with unruly teens.
Situated in a small village with spectacular views across the Caribbean Sea, it is the stuff of holiday brochures... but not for the kids who are sent there.
New arrivals - some as young as 12 - cannot speak without permission and are allowed only the barest of necessities.
They are cut off from their families and they must earn privileges such as phone calls home.
One of the most controversial methods of punishment used in the behavioural correction programme is Observational Placement or OP.
Children in OP lie silently on the floor in a guarded room until staff members decide they can leave. They eat, sleep and exercise in the same room.
Even though Tranquility Bay director, Jay Kay, says the aim is to get kids out of OP within 24 hours, Raphael talks to ex-students who had been in there for much longer.
Fifteen-year-old Shannon Levy, who left Tranquility Bay in 2002, spoke about her experience in OP.
"They lined us up like sardines...there was no air, no ventilation... and if we had to go to the bathroom we had to leave the door open so they could sit there and watch us. I was there for eight weeks straight," she said.
Cruel to be kind?
Some of the parents of children who have not responded to the programme say the regime is brutal, open to abuses, and some of the staff poorly trained.
Several of them are taking legal action against WWASPS - World Wide Association of Speciality Programs and Schools - the business organisation that runs Tranquility Bay.
Bertrand Bainvel, Head of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) in Jamaica, wants OP scrapped because he says: "There is a high possibility it falls under the definition of child abuse."
In their defence, WWASPs say their schools have "helped thousands of teens and their families and have a 97% parent satisfaction rate."
And it is true that for some parents, the school has been the answer to their prayers.
Raphael interviewed one parent who was very satisfied. He had not seen his son for 14 months, but told Raphael: "I have to believe in these people, they have helped a lot of children."
For Shannon Levy's mother Jayne, it was her only hope. "I had to do something quick because I was fearing for her life," she said. "Desperate parents do desperate things."
Locked in Paradise was broadcast on Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, at 1930 GMT on BBC Two. Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/07 09:12:00 GMT
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