Tranquility Bay

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Tranquility Bay
PDC 0062.JPG
Tranquility Bay on the map of Jamaica, by coordinates
Tranquility Bay on the map of Jamaica, by coordinates
Tranquility Bay
Coordinates17°52′14″N 77°45′04″W / 17.87056°N 77.75111°W / 17.87056; -77.75111Coordinates: 17°52′14″N 77°45′04″W / 17.87056°N 77.75111°W / 17.87056; -77.75111
School typeprivate
Motto"Working for the future of the world"
DirectorJay Kay
AccreditationNorthwest Association of Accredited Schools
AffiliationWorld Wide Association of Specialty Programs

Tranquility Bay was a residential treatment facility affiliated with World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS), that operated from 1997 to early 2009.[1] It was located in Calabash Bay, Saint Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.[2]


The director was Jay Kay, a college dropout with no training in child development who ran a mini-mart in San Diego,[3][4] and who is son of WWASPS president Ken Kay. The cost for one child ranged from $25,000 to $40,000 a year. Tranquility Bay was generally acknowledged as the toughest of the WWASPS schools.[5] As with other WWASPS facilities, Tranquility Bay has been the subject of much controversy, including allegations of torture, unsanitary living conditions, unqualified employees, and denial of medical care;[6] these claims have been the subject of multiple lawsuits from former Tranquility Bay residents.[7]

Tranquility Bay stated that it was dedicated to helping parents who are having difficulty with their children, whether they are doing drugs, breaking the law, or being disobedient or disrespectful. In 2003, Kay said "if I have kids, and they start giving me a problem, well, they are going straight in the program. If I had to, I'd pull the trigger without hesitation";[3] however, in 1999, Kay (who at that time was not working for WWASPS) said that the Tranquility Bay staff were "untrained", without "credentials of any kind", and that Tranquility Bay "could be leading these kids to long-term problems that we don't have a clue about because we're not going about it in the proper way".[8]

Children as young as 12 were admitted to Tranquility Bay, for reasons ranging from drug use to conflicts with a new stepmother.[8] From 2002 to 2005 the Government of the Cayman Islands sent some delinquent youth to Tranquility Bay; the government funded the students as they were located in Tranquility Bay.[9]

Tranquility Bay was shut down in January 2009,[1] after the case of Isaac Hersh gained national media and political attention and years of alleged abuse and torture came to light. Many politicians, including Hillary Clinton, were involved in Isaac's release.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The "Cassie" episode of the A&E program Intervention, first shown in January 2011, features a young woman addicted to prescription painkillers who had been sent to Tranquility Bay as a child and blamed her father for not rescuing her.[10] In the episode, Cassie alleged that her fellow residents consumed "chemicals" so they would be sent to the hospital and would be able to talk to their parents regarding the abuse they were enduring. However, she alleged that when they vomited in response to the poison, rather than being sent to a hospital, they were restrained by staff face down in their own vomit.


  1. ^ a b Maia Szalavitz, Bad Economy Killing Abusive Teen Programs, The Huffington Post, January 30, 2009
  2. ^ Home Page. Tranquility Bay. August 13, 2003. Retrieved on October 2, 2010. "Tranquility Bay, Calabash Bay P.A., St. Elizabeth, Jamaica 876-965-0003."
  3. ^ a b Decca Aitkenhead, "The Last Resort", The Observer Magazine, 29 June 2003.
  4. ^ "No More Nightmares at Tranquility Bay?"
  5. ^ Weiner, Tim. "Parents Divided Over Jamaica Disciplinary Academy". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  6. ^ Tranquility Bay & WWASP website
  7. ^ Green, Joanne (2006-06-22). "Rough Love". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  8. ^ a b Tim Weiner, Parents Divided Over Jamaica Disciplinary Academy, The New York Times, June 17, 2003.
  9. ^ Pioro, Basia. "Controversy surrounds Tranquility Bay Archived 2012-09-03 at the Wayback Machine.." Caymanian Compass. Tuesday 13 July 2006. Retrieved on 9 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Cassie". Intervention. January 2011. A&E.

Further reading[edit]

  • Art, Cindy. 2012. Trapped in Paradise, A Memoir. ISBN 978-1475192278. An account of an attendee's time at Tranquility Bay.

External links[edit]