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Hope Christian Home And Academy


We are fishing for some information about:

* Hope Christian Home And Academy (Maybe located on 865 Sweatman Rd, Duck Hill, MS)
* Jimmy & Donna Prather
* Ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church, McDonaugh, GA
We have been unable to locate website, contact information, Facebook groups etc. We do know that the managers worked for Happiness Hills in Union, MS before they started this prison camp for young girls.

Here is a statement given on HEAL-online's message board:

Hope Christian Home %26 Academy in Duck Hill, Mississippi
By Amanda

I would like to report on Hope Home and Christian Academy. When I was 15 (I'm 23 now), I was sent to Hope Home and Christian Academy in Mississippi. Unlike a lot of the other girls there, I was only there for a year--April 2004-April 2005. One of the punishments there that I experienced and which most disturbed me was isolation. I once mentioned atheism to another girl there, she told a staff member, and they separated me from the rest of the girls in the home. I was not allowed to talk to or even look at the other girls for a month. I was in a room in the other end of the house, by myself and could only talk to staff members when they talked to me. This was called being on "group separation" and "silence". Though I never experienced it, I certainly heard the effects of what they called "licks", which were spankings. Other punishments included writing sentences, standing against the wall (from 30 minutes to hours at a time), being on silence, and being on separation from individual girls. Even though most girls are sent there after being sexually and emotionally abused at home or in various foster homes, there is absolutely no counselor in the house. Strict Christianity is forced on the girls. They must read the Bible in the morning, then go into the schooling room for Christian homeschooling, etc. They do not leave the house aside from going to church and VERY occasionally going to a gas station or Walmart. When I came back from the home, I felt as though I'd missed a whole years worth of events, because I had. I was yelled at for not holding Christian beliefs and was made to write 2,000 sentences when they caught me throwing up in the bathroom once. As someone with eating issues, I needed a counselor, not punishment. Communication with anyone outside of the home is heavily censored. Girls are allowed one phone call a month with their parents, but it takes place on speakerphone in front of the main staff members. Because of this, girls can't really be honest about how things are going unless they want the staff member to know it as well or possibly intervene if they say things they don't want them to say. I never said anything out of line, so I'm not sure what happens if someone does. Other than that once monthly phone call, no others can be made or received. All other communication must be done by way of sending letters. These letters are given to a staff member, who reads it to make sure the girl doesn't say anything she isn't supposed to or that they wouldn't approve of, and then they are sent out. When a girl receives a letter or an email, a staff member first goes through it to make sure it doesn't say anything they don't approve of. Once or twice, I received a letter in which small pieces had been cut out. I once snuck some chocolate candy from the counter and the biggest girl at the home was then blamed for it. Only later did I found out that she'd felt so pressured about it, she'd admitted to taking the candy. The same thing happened when I snuck some cookies once. We were well fed, but the food was locked up and I grabbed snacks when no one was looking every now and then. The only form of counsel is Brother P, the leader of the home. All counsel is Bible-based and is in no way professional. Sometimes, he became angry and yelled at the girls (myself included, especially when it came to stating beliefs). He commented alot on the fact that I ate a lot when I was home and, when I tried to restrict myself upon first coming there, he yelled at me about that. Once, a 9 year old girl at the home snuck a pair of scissors and cut off a little of her bangs while no one was looking. When she lied about doing it, Brother P took a pair of scissors and cut her long hair off up to her ears, making it look terrible as a punishment for lying. Today, that girl is 15, was recently abused by her adopted parents and is now in a foster home. I am sure that if this place is investigated, they will tell the girls to be on their best behavior and they will be, because those girls want to act well so that they can go home. I keep in touch with many girls who formerly were there with me, and they have very few positive things to say about the home. No one-on-one communication is ever allowed between two girls and conversation is closely monitored by everyone there. If anyone mentions a non-Christian song, etc. or anything about their past, one of the girls will approach a staff member and tell on them for what they've done. Every girl there (in my experience) was eager to go back home, so they sold out anyone and everyone for every little thing. I really feel that this place should be shut down. Girls basically feel like they're always in trouble when they're there, even though many of them need somewhere peaceful to get away from everything they've experienced previously. Instead, they're locked up in a house with 10-11 other girls, no privacy, and Christianity coming at them from every direction, including a requirement to wear long dresses at all times. I'm sure that no one at that home will sell the place out, but I am willing to tell the truth. I've heard of autistic girls going in and being punished for their behavior by having to stand against the wall for hours in the day instead of anyone acknowledging the autism. It isn't effective and it is VERY harmful. Something needs to be done and this is heavy on my heart, which is why I've decided to submit this. I give HEAL permission to use this statement. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on August 15, 2011

Dear Amanda, I don't know anything about this place, but as someone who has also survived programs, I have a couple of suggestions (which you may have already considered). Psy might also have something good if he responds.

First, you are referring to the Hope Chilren's School? (search for it)
Second, I think the name of the Church might be different: here is a facebook page for one that has an approximate address. ... 3886242685
Third:  this website ( ... facilities) seems to actually funnel children TOWARDS Hope Children's--they also seem to have a phone number for the 'Young Girls' section! (662)565-2894

One problem is that in the USA, many 'church' or 'religious' organizations (particularly pertaining to child care and education) are exempt from state requirements that cover care, licensing, etc,. Here is one group that is working on holding institutions that claim to be religious responsible: Perhaps (?) this group or one like it would be interested in helping you with the research.

 It sounds like you are in touch with at least one girl who was there (and was terribly young--my heart goes out to her): It would be a good idea to try to find out what records you can obtain from them. If you or anyone else is in therapy, your therapist can make a formal medical request for the records concerning your medication, medical treatment, and therapy while you were there. In many cases, the institution is legally REQUIRED to provide this information.

Consider checking out the police records in the country where it is located. If ambulances or the police were ever called, there should be a record.

All the best.


--- Quote from: Grenada Star ---Girls removed from facility
By Galen Holley, Grenada Star, Staff Writer

Seventeen girls have been removed from a Christian girls’ home in Sweatman due to allegations of abuse, according to law enforcement officials in Montgomery County.

The girls were taken on June 27 from the Hope Christian Home and Academy, according to Sheriff Bubba Nix.

“We helped in the operation,” said Nix, describing how the sheriff’s department assisted in gathering the girls who resided at the facility and passing them over to the care of Family and Children’s Services.

“They’ll either be passed on to their parents or united with foster parents,” said Nix.

Family and Children’s Services acted on a 911 call that they received reporting abuse, Nix said. He wouldn’t comment further.

Judy McClain, regional director for Grenada DHS declined comment Tuesday.

Julia Bryan, in the Office of Communications for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, released a short statement to the GrenadaStar.

“I am unable to confirm your information regarding Hope Christian Girls School, but please remind your readers: Anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect should call the 24-hour child abuse hotline at 1-800-222-8000. Reports can also be made online at:”

Hope Christian Home was started in 1998 by Jimmy and Donna Prather. The facility is located off Highway 404 east of Duck Hill.

A reporter from the GrenadaStar visited the facility Tuesday afternoon in an effort to contact the Prathers. It appeared that no one was there.

--- End quote ---

Saw this comment in my RSS reader:

--- Quote from: Krista Jean ---Comment on a posting on the "WHEN FAR FROM HOME" blog

Yikes! The Prathers mean well! They have to keep the order to be able to provide for these abandoned or unruly young women. Discipline is a form of counseling; teaching self control. It’s a religious form.

I do agree that certain amounts of stress and wanting to go home can be unhealthy. There was also a time when I was at the home that I came down with strep throat (or what I’m assuming was strep throat, I was never taken to the doctor). I couldn’t swallow, had fever and chills; it was hard to breathe or eat food. This went on for about two weeks. I did not know what would happen. Very scared. It was one of the scariest times in my life. I was made to perform all those chores when I was clearly sick, had fever, and couldn’t talk. As a biology student now I realize I needed anabiotic’s and rest! I would cry but I was told to gargle salt water and pray. I made it through but I did need medical attention. I’m not sure if that affected me today. I do have some minor respiratory issues. I’m not sure if we did not have medical coverage or what the case was. That was my only experience there I feel should have been handled different.

However Brother Prather believes whole heartedly in what he is doing. They are not intentionally torturing girls. He is old school military and that’s how they are. Mrs. Prather is a submissive woman who listens to what he recommends. All in all Hope Christian Home is an adventure in life and really opens up your views as life goes on.

--- End quote ---


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