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Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)

"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms." — Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." — Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

«Rehabilitation Project Force, the cult's internal gulag where bad people are sent for punishment or "rehabilitation"; a brain washing and penal organization.» —  The ARS Acronym/Terminology FAQ v3.5 by Martin Hunt.
«By lowering the endurance of a person, a group, or nation, and by constant degradation and defamation, it is possible to induce, thus, a state of shock which will receive adequately any command given.» — L. Ron Hubbard, "Brainwashing Manual", p. 34.

Scientology's gulag. Thanks to Wikileaks, you now have access to the document which contains the RPF rules: Scientology cult unlawful imprisonment RPF order 3434RB. For your interest, here is an informal analysis of this document on alt.religion.scientology newsgroup.

There is worst if you don't do well on the RPF itself: they call it the RPF's RPF, where you could find yourself chained to a pipe in the boiler room in the basement, or in a cage in the basement, at the bottom of an elevator shaft...

Orato (January 2008): "Scientology's Fanatical Military" by John Duignan
[...] Alice was assigned to the demeaning status of RPF-er. Her fiancé was sent to the RPF in another continent. Alice had some trouble with this and she decided to leave. Unfortunately, one is not allowed to simply leave Scientology. One must ‘route out’ a process of extensive and intrusive vetting, "confessions" – read interrogation – and sign of a number of non-disclosure bonds, all while under house arrest or other kinds of physical restraint. [...]

One afternoon, I had just driven back the Crowborough camp; I saw an ambulance and people in a tizzy and running around. I was told by a white-faced college that Alice had ran out of the RPF indoctrination room, gone to the workshop, found a tin of paint thinner, swallowed it then climbed up on top of the gym roof, a fifteen-foot high structure surrounded by concrete. She jumped. [...]

Channel 4 (UK, 1997): "Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard" @ XenuTV


"This was his period which I called the pouting, the crying, the mad period where he would cry and throw things against the wall, the bulkheads and pout and scream. Right towards the tail end of that he created the RPF, the 'Rehabilitation Project Force'."

The RPF was yet another correctional regime. Its orders were fearsome. As ship's captain it was Hana Eltringham's job to implement them.


"I was absolutely horrified when I read them, because they talked about the creation of this - pretty much like a slave labour camp. Those weren't the words used but that was the impression given. Where the unwanteds, those found wanting, seriously wanting were sent, and they were to be kept in this with no rights, no freedoms, no privileges of any kind. Pretty much the only rights they were allowed were a little bit of sleep each day, food leftovers. The harshest treatment, they were not allowed to speak to any of the crew. It was very, very, very bad that this was going on [...]

The Total Freedom Trap: Scientology, Dianetics And L. Ron Hubbard by Jon Atack

Hubbard put to sea with his closest followers in 1967. Aboard ship, anyone who displeased him was confined to the chain locker. Here the victim would crouch in bilge water and excrement in total darkness, surrounded by rats, sometimes for as much as two weeks without respite. Even children were put into the chain locker on Hubbard's order. In 1968, the chain locker punishment was -supplemented by "overboarding", where people, even non swimmers, were hurled from the decks into the sea.

In 1973, Hubbard replaced these cruel and unusual practices with a new and profoundly effective form of humiliation-the Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF. The RPF is still in use in Scientology organizations throughout the world. Those who fail to comply with orders, make mistakes or simply fall short of their production quotas are put onto the RPF. RPFers can only speak when spoken to, they are meant to eat table scraps, sleep even shorter hours than other staff, and comply immediately and unquestioningly with any order. They work a full day, doing physical labour, and are then expected to spend five hours confessing and hearing the confession of their RPF partner.

Dr. Stephen A. Kent: "Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Force (RPF)"

In considerable detail the RPF document laid out the framework of forcible confinement, physical and social maltreatment, intensive reindoctrination, and forced confessions that were (and are) central to the program's operation. Certain passages, for example, outlined the basic rules about forcible confinement. Inmates could not leave the facility, and could travel between buildings only when they were accompanied by security guards (Boards of Directors of the Churches of Scientology, 1977: 10). Physical maltreatment occurred within the confines of sometimes demanding and dangerous work to which they were assigned. Specifically inmates had to carry out eleven maintenance functions--interior and exterior building cleaning; bathroom cleaning; general painting; internal building renovations; storage, passageway, and stairway cleaning; other "large scale" projects outside of sleeping, kitchen, or eating areas; "garage cleaning"; "elevator and elevator shaft cleaning"; engine room and boiler room cleaning; furniture set-ups for events; and "garbage disposal."

Monica Pignotti: My Nine Lives in Scientology: The RPF

In November, 1973, Hubbard came up with an idea to handle troublemakers, backsliders or anyone else aboard who happened to displease him. He created the Rehabilitation Project Force (the "RPF"), the Sea Org's version of a prison camp. RPFers were to do hard physical labor all day and in the evenings were to audit one another to get off their overts and withholds and deal with their evil intentions. RPFers were not allowed to speak to a crew member in good standing, unless spoken to and had to wear black boiler suits. They were allowed to eat only after everyone else on the ship had finished and were not allowed to leave the ship. Hubbard considered RPFers to be psychotic criminals that should be grateful that he was giving them a chance to be rehabilitated.

"The Church of Scientology" or the Guru's Gulags: Story of an escape

The first part of the book is the true story of an escape from one the gulags of the most dangerous cults and certainly the most pettifogging cult in the world.

This is of course the so-called "Church of Scientology". There is in Florida (USA) a little town called Clearwater which has almost entirely been squatted by the cult. Located at 210 S Fort Harrison Av, "Flag", a big building from the thirties has become the Mecca of the cult and tenderly shelters in its garage one the severest existing gulags. The author prefers to remain anonymous for reasons that might appear obvious even for one who had never been in contact with any cult and much less with the conditions of internment characteristic to those charming forced labor camps.

Moreover, the author chose to tell her experience from the moment she became aware that her life was in danger and decided to flee. [...]

There is a Flag Order (policy) 3434RB, 7/1/1974, called "The Rehabilitation Project Force" about 10 pages long, which is confidential and is not to be found outside the RPF. It consists mainly of the RPF rules of which nobody can have a free access to that delicious reading — here are the broad lines: [...]

Jyllands-Posten (Jan. 2001): "Inside RPF Denmark" by Pierre Collignon

Shortly thereafter Susanne was sent to the RPF's RPF - the program for the most sinful among sinners. From then on Susanne was a complete outcast. She was to sleep alone in a small room on the floor, eat alone on the backstairs, and work alone all day. At meals she waited on the other RPF'ers, served them their food and cleaned up after them.

On November 18th Susanne asked for permission to call her parents so they could come and get her. She wanted out. It was denied with the following reasons from the Ethics Officer: "This application is not filled out correctly. You do not state the reason for wanting to go to your parents."

Declaration of Jonathan Caven-Atack (9 April 1995)

45. The RPF is virtually a labour and thought reform camp. Members are forbidden communication with any but their "bosun" (the head of the RPF); they have to comply immediately with any order; they sleep even shorter hours than other staff; they eat even poorer food than other staff (often rice, beans and porridge for weeks. For some time in Florida, "RPFers" were fed left-over food) [JCA-98]; they sleep in "pig's berthing", i.e. without beds [JCA-99], [JCA-100]; they do hard labour and menial tasks, including toilet and sewer cleaning; they are rarely permitted time off; they receive one quarter of the already derisory pay of other staff [JCA-101]; and they have to write down detailed "confessions", which may be published by the organization [JCA-102], [JCA-103]. Finally, an RPF sentence is open-ended and may last for as much as four years. Failure to comply leads to posting to the "RPFers RPF", which according to witnesses has consisted of false imprisonment. False imprisonment or "isolation" is a part of the "technology" of Scientology [JCA-104], [JCA-105]. There are hundreds of former members who suffered the RPF.

Hamburg Morgen Post: "Caught in Scientology's concentration camp"

Does Scientology maintain penitential camps in which apostates are forcibly held and are subjected to brainwashing? A new booklet from the Work Group on Scientology in the Interior Agency has come to that conclusion.

Its author is Professor Stephen Kent from Alberta, Canada. For the initial presentation of the booklet he brought Stacy Brooks with him from the USA. She reported that she was dragged off to such an training camp herself.

"Even residents of Hamburg who are members of Scientology run the risk of ending up in one of the organization's penitential camps in Denmark or the USA," said Ursula Caberta, Hamburg's Scientology Commissioner. A handful of sect adherents were demonstrating in front of the Interior Agency as she was saying that. They distributed their printed party line, in which Caberta was described as having accepted bribes and in which Interior Senator Wrocklage was threatened with charges.

According to Stephen Kent, the penitential camps are the "Rehabilitation Project Force" (RPF) of Scientology. He said the camps were set up to break down the will of members critical of the organization. "Witnesses have told me that they were held there an entire year," said Kent. He said such training camps existed not only in Los Angeles, but also in England and Denmark - and they have been for years. At this point, the government authorities have done nothing. Kent: "They always say there is not enough proof to get involved."

Affidavit of Tonja Burden (25 January 1980)

In the RPF you were labeled 'treasonous' and force to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and oftentimes received only 'rice and beans' and water.  During this time I personally observed a person chained to pipes in the boiler room in the Fort Harrison building for a period of weeks. In the RPF I saw people screaming and crying during the constant 'auditing' on the E-meter.  The E-meter is a lie detector used during auditing.  RPF prisoners were forced to undergo 'auditing' in order to 'audit out' their evil purposes against Hubbard and Scientology.  I cried virtually the whole time I was in the RPF.

Jon Atack: "A Piece of Blue Sky: The Clearwater Hearings"

Ray inevitably ended up on the Rehabilitation Project Force. His account of it is horrifying. The RPF lived on a diet of Leftovers including wilted lettuce which was beginning to rot, and cheese with mold all over it. One day, they were given french fries, and while eating them Ray discovered that one of the potatoes was in fact a fried palmetto bug. From that point on, he used his weekly pay of $9.60 to buy cookies from a health food store. It was all he could afford.

City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology - Day 4, Stan Herrin's affidavit, as quoted by Michael Flynn

Conditions on board the ship were extremely harsh; sleeping quarters were dark, damp, and crowded. Only thirty-second showers were allowed. Worst of all, any person who disobeyed any of Hubbard's orders was placed in the RPF, Rehabilitation Project Force. The Rehabilitation Project Force was Hubbard's internal prison for those Scientologists who disobeyed his orders. All mail to and from the ship was censored for I was told ship's security. During this time, I received only a couple of letters my wife sent to me; she received only one of about six I sent her. Hubbard ordered the censoring to prevent Scientologists from writing and exposing facts about L. Ron Hubbard's broken arm, colds, sicknesses, et cetera.
    German Documentary (1999): "Missing in Happy Valley" (dubbed in English, transcript at Rick A. Ross Institute)

A documentary about Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (the RPF) from producers Peter Reichelt and Ina Brockmann. The RPF is a prison and labor camp of Scientology.

Good Times (2006): "Scientology" by Christa Martin

“One day he came to me and said that he had an order in his pocket to send [a woman] to the RPF’s RPF (similar to solitary confinement,” Janet says. “[She] was the highest person in the Commodore’s Messenger Org. When that kind of shit happened [someone like her being sent to the RPF], you know the shit was going to explode. Joe told me that … it was time for us to go.” Before then, the two had had quiet conversations about leaving, but nothing had materialized.

Janet says she was sent there for four months before she escaped—from the RPF and from Scientology. Her sister, Lisa, who was also at the same location, was later sent to the RPF. Once, reportedly, for two-and-a-half years.

Gerry Armstrong (Feb. 2004): "Complaint Report"

24. The RPF and the RPF’s RPF operated as a forced labor and reindoctrination camp and as a system and procedure to break the will of anyone thought to be “out ethics” or “counter intention” to Hubbard or his organization and activities. It was a shocking, degrading experience to be ordered to the RPF, and the threat of RPF assignment was used to keep non-RPF crew in line and producing. I was threatened several times with RPF assignment during my SO years, and assigned twice for a total of twenty-five months. [...]

35. As the Bosun, I acquired knowledge of RPF policies, punishments and other practices. I was required to detain people against their will, prevent them from leaving, keep them under guard, force them to perform hard labor as punishment without pay, subject them to invasive and coercive interrogations, and force them to sign lists of their “crimes” extracted from their auditing files. I was required to forcibly separate RPF members from spouses and children, cut them off from information in the outside world, and enforce the idea that they were “criminals.” The RPF was a degrading experience that violated people’s civil rights and human dignity. [...]

Gary Weber: More details about my time in the RPF

This was a great lesson for me that your only as good as you produce, and that at anytime the group could take away anything they wanted. The power I once felt I had was only an illusion that I was made to believe in order to be a willing slave.

The RPF and Scientology's Hollywood Stars

Moreover, the RPFers were supposed to meet Travolta himself:

And he came to us, being all wonder and great and grandiose.... I will never forget the look on his face when he saw us. We must've looked like something from one of those prison camps, one of the German prison camps, because he looked at us and ... he was utterly unable to speak. He just stood there. He was supposed to talk to us, and tell us all this shit, and he literally stood there in horror (Kent Interview with Prince, 1998: 25).

The RPF Insider

One specific area is called "Rats alley." It speaks for itself! Members that for one reason or another had to be punished were thrown into this small space, with rats all over the place, rotting and eating each other, along with thousands of cockroaches, to clean it up. This was done so one would "get ones confront up." I'm glad this was finally fully cleaned up, so I didn't have to face this nightmare.

Birgitta Dagnell: "My story about scientology"

The "rehabilitation" consisted of lots of work, mainly cleaning, and started at 8 AM with roll-call. We had to say "Ay Sir" when called upon or spoken to. We were not permitted to talk to people outside the DPF and later on not to DPF-members from other countries. In that way be became isolated. The first night we were only 2 people in a normal 2-beds room. Next night and the following, we were 18 people in it. We happen to get breakfast sometimes, but that was not normal. I remember one morning when the 82 of us got 16 slices of bread to share and one man took 6 of them. It was near a civil war got started. The meals was eaten in a cellar where we shared the space with lots of pigeons. It was very dirty, filled with bird shit. At one occasion I had to fight with the pigeons to get my meal. The food was never enough for all of us and consisted of rice and beans. No plates, no cutleries and no pots. Once we got soup, and I was lucky to possess a small plastic mug so I could drink it. We used to feel like "the poor man with no spoon when the sky is raining semolina".

Affidavit of Martin Ottmann (19 April 1996): The Rehabilitation Project Force

In 1992 a Class-IX-Auditor was found to have an affair with a "squirrel" (an ex-Scientologist, who would do practices similar to Scientology) on her "libs-days". She was sent immediately to the RPF. Debbie Cook, the CO FSO, was furious about that scandal at a staff meeting and screamed that the Auditor would receive a very harsh ethics treatment.

Affidavit of Anne Rosenblum (pre 1995)

When I first arrived in the RPF, I went to the RPF MAA (Master-at-Arms, in charge of "ethics") and was given forms to sign. I don't remember what I signed. I don't remember reading them. I only vaguely recall one of them which was something about how I entered the RPF voluntarily to be able to get redemption, and that I'm being treated well, being taken care of, etc. I don't remember at all what else I signed. For one thing, I was still in a state of shock and confusion at being in the RPF. They were forms to go to the G.O. [Guardians Office] — I do remember that much.

Affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

120. I personally participated in the construction of an apartment at the Gold base, using extensive funds from various non profit Scientology religious organizations, for the personal and exclusive use of Tom Cruise. This was done on the orders of David Miscavige. Even though Miscavige has claimed to be Chairman of the Board of RTC, here he is directing the expenditure of CSI money and the deployment of CSI labor — both paid and slave. Other apartment cottages were built for the use of John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Edgar Winters, Priscilla Presley and other Scientology celebrities who are carefully prevented from finding out the real truth about the Scientology organization. The labor used to construct Tom Cruise's apartment was provided by Gold, a division of CSI, and persons from a myriad of Scientology organizations serving time in the RPF. The RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force) is the Scientology gulag or concentration camp. Using RPFers to renovate and reconstruct Tom Cruise's personal and exclusive apartment at the Scientology Gold base is equivalent to the use of slave labor for Tom Cruise's benefit. The Tom Cruise apartment at the Gold base is located at the golf course end of the Gold base, closest to State Street. When Tom Cruise visits the Gold base, and stays in his personal apartment, he is cared for by a Sea Org steward.

Affidavit of Hana Eltringham Whitfield (8 August 1989)

Then in 1978, I was assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force at the Fort Harrison, the Sea Organization's slave labor camp. I was assigned to it because I had evil thoughts about Hubbard and the Sea Organization. I was utterly shocked and devastated. I was escorted to the RPF location between two heavy men, both well over 6' tall. I was locked up for about 24 hours in a room with no windows. I was under continual guard during that time and slept on a mattress on the floor without sheets or blanket. I was shocked and awake the entire night sometimes weeping and other times completely numb, devoid of all feeling or thought. I had a crazed urge to escape but knew I could not, that I had to finally confront myself and discover how evil and truly bad I was. I felt I was split into several people — one of them a kind, loving person who was in deep shock, the other a cold, calculating, evil-minded person who was intent on harming others for the fun of it, and yet another person who was terribly confused and did not know which of the other two was correctly me. I felt my mind was being ripped apart, that I could not think or feel anything. I forced myself blindly through the routine of having to run continually (RPF members were not allowed to walk at any time), of having to talk to non-RPF staff only when spoken to, of having to address everyone as "Sir", of having to do menial work of cleaning toilets, of having to wear old, torn and tattered blue overalls, of having to be seen running in the Florida heat, perspiring and without makeup or hairdo, doing menial and embarrassing work in front of all the public — in pain all the time.

Affidavit of Howard "Homer" Schomer (18 March 1986)

21. Life in the RPF was despicable and degrading. You lost all sense of self-esteem, freedom and human dignity. It was a world unto itself and you felt like a leper or a member of the caste "The Untouchables". You could not speak to other crew members unless you were spoken to and you had to "run" everywhere. The conditions were even worse than on board the regular quarters, damp, cold and, again, roach infested. The food was substandard and members of the RPF only ate after others had eaten. Often there was little leftover food. Members of the RPF were forced to wear black boiler suits. We slept very little everyday and awoke each morning to swab the decks. We were allowed 30 seconds to shower and had to be up and ready in the morning within 15 minutes. There was supposed to be time for study and auditing, but this rarely occurred, [handwritten: except in the RPF where it was the only way to get out, was to complete a training & auditing program given to you.]

Willamette Week (1985): "Scientology on trial"

The detail, known as the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), was started in the early '70s when Hubbard and the international headquarters of Scientology were based on a ship called the Apollo, which sailed primarily off the coast of Europe and Northern Africa. Homer Schomer, a former financial aide to Hubbard who left Scientology in 1982, said people, sometimes as few as 20 or 30 and sometimes as many as 150, were assigned to a lower hold in the ship which was "cockroach and rat-infested." He said they slept in the hold and also did TRs and Security Checking drills there during the day. They wore black coveralls and were not allowed to talk to anyone outside the RPF.

Another former Scientologist, Laurel Sullivan, who served for years as one of Hubbard's top personal public-relations aides, said she was sickened by the fact that RPF people "had to eat out of buckets."

Bill Franks, who was RPF'd several times before being named executive director international, said the "idea is to be reprogrammed." All the former members who discussed the RPFs said the sessions lasted anywhere from two to 18 months.

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