Cinnamon Hills Youth Crisis Center (1994-present) St. George, UT

Residential Treatment Center

History and Background Information

Cinnamon Hills Youth Crisis Center is a behavior-modification program that appears to have opened in 1994, although its website states that the program has over 52 years of expeirence treating youths. It is marketed as a Residential Treatment Center for tenagers (12-17) who are struggling with a variety of emotional or behavioral issues. The average length of stay, as well as the cost of the program, is unknown.

Cinnamon Hills is located at 770 E St George Blvd, St. George, UT 84770. The campus is located 109 miles north of Las Vegas, NV.

Cinnamon Hills is “accredited” by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS), but it is important to note that neither the United States Department of Education nor the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools as an accrediting agency for institutions of higher education.

Founders and Notable Staff

Note: Cinnamon Hills does not list their current staff/faculty on their website. Therefore, it is unknown whether the individuals listed below still work at the program.

Jack L. Williams was the Founder and former Program Director of Cinnamon Hills. Prior to opening Cinnamon Hills, Williams was one of the Founders and original Owners the notorious and confirmedly abusive Provo Canyon School. He even had a lawsuit filed against him in the 1970’s by former residents of PCS, challenging the school’s education, treatment and confinement methods. Jurors returned a verdict favoring Provo Canyon School after a lengthy trial in 1980. He died on December 18, 2009 at the age of 76, following a brief battle with a terminal illness.

Buck “Buff” Williams is the son of Jack Williams and took over as Executive Director of Cinnamon Hills after his father.

Joy Lynette Andrews worked as a Staff Member at Cinnamon Hills. In October 2008, she was arrested and charged with forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse after it was revealed that she had been having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl at Cinnamon Hills. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 1-15 years in prison.

Program Structure

Very little information is currently known about the specifics of the program used by Cinnamon Hills. If you attended this program and would like to contribute information to help complete this page, please contact

When a teen arrives at Cinnamon Hills, they are placed on the “Youth Development” Unit. This unit is secure and they are given very minimal privileges.

Once the teen has complied to a satisfactory degree, they are taken to the Life Skills Unit. This unit is for teens who have progressed through the program and are preparing to return home.

Abuse Allegations and Investigations

Many survivors have reported that Cinnamon Hills is an abusive program. Allegations of abuse and neglect that have been reported by survivors include extreme physical abuse, violent and excessive restraints, emotional abuse, humiliation tactics, medical neglect, and sexual abuse. Many survivors report that they developed PTSD as a result of their time at Cinnamon Hills.

According to the human-rights organization HEAL, Cinnamon Hills is a Confirmedly Abusive program. As per HEAL’s definition, “a program categorized as “Confirmedly Abusive” matches multiple warning signs of an abusive facility, has been sued or faced official complaints, and/or HEAL has received two or more substantiated reports of fraud and abuse regarding the facility.”

In January of 2008, a 25-year-old unnamed staff member at Cinnamon Hills was arrested after a 17-year-old girl reported he had sexually abused her. Police said the girl was allowed to leave the Cinnamon Hills youth crisis center to visit her family earlier this month and ran away from them. She contacted a 25-year-old staff member of the center, officers said. “They were friends and she called him and they went and had a sexual encounter that afternoon,” said St. George Police Sgt. Craig Harding. The girl was returned to her parents several hours later. During their investigation, police said the girl disclosed the sexual encounter. Harding said the man then corroborated it. The man was booked into the Purgatory Jail on investigation of unlawful sexual conduct by a person in a position of trust.

In October of 2008, a staff member at Cinnamon Hills, 33-year-old Joy Lynette Andrews, was arrested and charged with forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The charges stemmed from a police investigation that indicated Andrews met the 16-year-old victim when the girl was a resident at CHYCC. The sexual abuse reportedly began in June of 2008. The girl said the matter was brought forward to law enforcement after she confided in a counselor and a staff member at a different program in Provo, UT. In June of 2009, Andrews pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison in December 2009.

Survivor/Parent Testimonials

2020: (EX-STAFF) “As a former employee I can tell you that every room, every office in that facility is wired for video and or sound. All staff live in fear of their dictator and if anyone speaks out of turn they are immediately fired or “let go”. Man in question has stated directly to me ‘I have a lot of money and lawyers. People can sue all they want, they will run out of money before I do.'” – The Emerald Robot (Google Reviews)

2018: (SURVIVOR) “This place is tortorous to the children. Please do not send your kids here. Emotional, mental, physical and SEXUAL abuse is their way of “TREATMENT”. If you have been a victim do not hesitate to report this place no mater how long it’s been. Till this day and as I write and you read, there are kids being abused. Help me stop this! It is scary to read all these reviews from parents saying it’s been the best for their child… Really? All calls are monitored by staff, these kids have no way of saying what’s reallly going on in this place. They are told parents can be arelrested if they try taking them out of that place and beat and peed on and sexually abused even by the dr there… How is this ok for your child? Parents need to have an open communication with their children. It’s even scarrier to see some review from survivors of this place who are now married/in the military say this place made them a “Man”, look what they are doing to our society!!!. This place is hell. Report cinammon Hills crisis center, take your children, be a parent.. Protect your babies! If you don’t you are the monster along with this place.” – Jenny (Google Reviews)

2018: (PARENT) “my son dislocated his knee and never took him to the hospital and put his leg in a box… He should sue due to the injury they could of helped him get through. The owner dose not care for these kids!” – Claudette (Google Reviews)

2018: (SURVIVOR) “Very abusive and harmful. The staff will get physical with you and when they take things too far and the child gets injured and everyone involved has to write an incident report, they threaten the students to write word for word or they get put back into a locked knee, head bent down to your knees and arms pushed up and over your back restraint hold… And the knee pumping after 45 mins + in this position is what hurts the most.” – Kaylee (Google Reviews)

2016: (SURVIVOR) “i would not recommend this place for anybody i was a pryor student there and it was very awful i got poison and stabbed i was choked and stretched by over aggressive staff assaulted by gang members fights broke out i would not recommend this for your children i got ptsd from be there and was only there for a year it a lock down facility and if u kid isn’t tough i would not recommend send ur child if your protective over your child staff would come in intoxicated and when you defened your self when you were attacked and take into a room were the stretched you pulling you arms out and bend you down causing server pain in the arms and the put you in a sharp shooter while another staff pressed down on you cause more pain to the point your in tears and staff were on drugs a staff came in his eye were red lik he was high and he still working there” – Eli (Google Reviews)

2016: (SURVIVOR) “I was a student at this facility for eight months. During my time there I was abused physically, emotionally, mentally. On the eight month I was there I was molested by a student and less then a week later I was raped by a staff who was supposed to be doing bathroom breaks. I was rapped and beat up by him and he called a code team and said I attacked him. I was pulled out of the facility 2 days later by my family and had a sart exam confirming I was rapped. I do not believe this school should still be running.” – Brandon (Google Reviews)

10/28/2015: (SURVIVOR) “I wasnt able to function properly in school due to emotional issues, I had a lot of issues from on going abuse that was never addressed during the time. After bouncing from school to school, pill to pill, and therapist to therapist until my 8th grade year, The school board had enough of my shenanigans. I was expelled and sent to an lower level inpatient facility. My problems grew worse there due to inadequate care, staff abuse, isolation and my own stubbornness. After a 9 month stay, I was deemed unfit for their care. At 4AM I was tossed out of bed by two off duty police officers. I was handcuffed, shackled and put into waist restraints. I was hustled into a Suburban and I was on my way to St. George, Utah without much of an explanation besides that “I was going to a new home” After 6 hours driving non stop they let me use the bathroom at truck stop in Nevada. They accompanied me into the bathroom, undid my pants and pulled down my boxers. They refused to remove the restraints under any circumstances (even while eating) I was told this was a liquids stop only, any solids would have to be handled at the “new home” They laughed at me when I cried after one of the guards zipped my genitals into my zipper. They didn’t make any attempt to help me, They simply watched me writhe on the bathroom wall until I manage to free myself from my zipper. This was a small taste of the brutality and abuse to come my way. One of the hardest things for me to deal with was the constant punishment over my self mutilation. I couldn’t ever grasp the concept behind that. I dont want to go too into detail about what happened as I am typing this up at work and I need to remain composed. After a year of mental, sexual, and physical abuse at the hands of various men who where employed there, I broke. I conformed to the program, graduated and left. I ended up in a few more facilities after CHYCC. I encountered many of my former roommates and bunkmates. Many of whom are dead or incarcerated now. I feel like the solider pulling into his units bus station. Fewer and fewer are alive or free every year. I will rue the day I show up alone to the shared platform of suffering and hardships that we all stood upon. I will always regret those I left behind in my selfish quest to leave that place. The friendships and bonds I cut off, the people I left to their own torturous devices, they will always haunt me. How do I move past what has happened to me, knowing that it is still happening to thousands of kids every year? I’ll answer any question related to my experience or male self mutilation. Thanks for hearing me out/ reading.” – u/Sethpricer (Reddit)

Related Media

Cinnamon Hills Website Homepage

Cinnamon Hills Old Website Homepage (archived, 2002)

HEAL Program Information – Cinnamon Hills

Woman accused of sex with teen appears in court (Deseret News, 10/31/2008)

Cinnamon Hills; Joy Lynette Andrews arrested/charged (Fornits, 10/24/2009)