Synopsis by Mark Deming
Described on its website as "a treatment program for troubled adolescents," Tranquility Bay is a facility in Jamaica run by an American-based firm where teenagers who have been judged as rebellious and "out of control" by their parents can be sent for behavior modification. While Tranquility Bay's proprietors claim their program works, under Jamaican law the staff members need no special qualifications beyond a high school diploma, and Jay Kay, Tranquility Bay's owner, has no educational background in youth development. Tranquility Bay has become controversial for the program's emphasis on physical restrain and "Operation Placement," in which new enrollees are forced to spend most of their day lying face down on a tile floor, as well as the fact the program is open-ended, with few specific standards for release. (It's also expensive, with parents paying up to $40,000 a year to keep their children there.) French documentary filmmakers Mathieu Verboud and Jean Robert Viallet explore this controversial "last resort" for troubled youth in Tranquility Bay, which examines the facility and its treatment plan, as well as featuring interviews with former enrollees and their parents, many of whom question the program's efficacy and believe it does more harm than good.