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Parents Still Turn To Troubled Youth Ranches Despite Abuse Allegations

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A young resident at a boys' ranch learns to read. The ranch was set up as an alternative to reform school. (Photo by Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

A young resident at a boys’ ranch learns to read. The ranch was set up as an alternative to reform school. (Photo by Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — David Hall was afraid of his own son. They were getting into violent, physical fights requiring police intervention.

Fearing the teen would end up in juvenile detention, Hall had his son hauled away in handcuffs and shackles to a southern New Mexico ranch for troubled youths.

He didn’t see him again for 11 months, when police raided the Tierra Blanca ranch amid allegations of abuse.

Critics say the case highlights the need for stronger oversight of such youth camps after a decade of high-profile cases alleging beatings and other abuse.

Proponents — including Hall — say the programs are an effective solution to save troubled youth from the criminal justice system.

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs estimates there are about 400 such programs operating in the country.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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