M6 : Troubled Teen Industry

Titre : Troubled Teen industry

Durée : 53’

Diffuseur : M6

Réal : Réjane Varrod

Production : Cathy Palumbo et Victor Robert


The “Troubled Teen Industry” in the United States: an often overlooked reality that impacts the lives of two hundred thousand teenagers every year. These young people, faced with difficulties such as addiction or dropping out of school, are sent to private reformatories, which are supposed to offer them the support they need to overcome their ordeals. However, the reality is much darker.

This documentary by Réjane Varrod sheds light on the extreme methods employed by these establishments, oscillating between isolation, torture and humiliation, under the guise of “attack therapies”. These practices, far removed from traditional psychological treatments, aim to “reform” individuals through discipline and suffering. Families, in the hope of seeing their children improve, spend thousands of dollars every month, even mortgaging their homes to finance these programs.

Our investigation also reveals the flagrant lack of regulation and control of these institutions, many of which employ unqualified staff, despite allegations of serious abuse and numerous complaints.

The documentary also focuses on the revolt movement initiated by the “survivors” of these centers. Among them is the famous heiress Paris Hilton, who shares her personal experience in her documentary “This Is Paris”. Paris’ story has inspired thousands of victims across the country, like Meredith, Logan, Kathy and Bill, former residents whom our teams met.

With the creation of the UnSilenced organization in 2020, this movement unleashed a tidal wave of testimonies in the USA, challenging this huge industry valued at fifty billion dollars a year.

An essential documentary to understand the issues and struggles of these teenagers and their families.

Broadcast November 26, 2023