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boot camp converting to females

Friday, September 29, 2017 16:42 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The state's only juvenile boot camp near LaPorte is being relocated but the facility will not be closing its doors.

Female juveniles housed by the Indiana Department of Correction in Madison County will be transferred to Camp Summit at Johnson Road and 500 West.

The 85 male offenders currently at Camp Summit will go to the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility for boys where the boot camp program is being moved to.

Ike Randolph, a DOC spokesman out of Indianapolis, said the move is in response to a dramatic drop in the juvenile female offender population and rising adult female prisoner numbers.

There were close to 200 juvenile female offenders 10-years ago at the over 170 bed facility at Madison County that now houses fewer than 40 juvenile females, according to the DOC.

The space in Madison County being emptied is on the same grounds as a separate

DOC operated building strictly for adult female offenders and will be used to prevent overcrowding at the facility next door.

''It's really just make sure we're utilizing our facilities the best we can,'' said Randolph.

Randolph said there could be a cost savings from efficiencies achieved from the move but it's early to say how much.

The switch also helps families of female juvenile offenders from the northern part of the state by eliminating trips to the southern tip of Indiana for personal visits.

A significant portion of the female juveniles at Madison County are from north of Indianapolis, he said.

''Moving them up north places them closer to their families,'' said Randolph.

According to the DOC, the decline in juvenile female offenders has much to do with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a program used in close to 300 counties nationwide.

The focus of JDAI is not keeping juveniles, especially non-violent ones, locked up as they await the outcome of their court cases because of findings that young offenders kept incarcerated during that whole time have a higher chance of being sentenced to prison.

Going to prison can have a more serious impact on their prospects of future success, according to the DOC.

Randolph said Camp Summit will have to undergo only slight physical changes in the restrooms and changing the color scheme from male military to something more female appropriate.

"In particular, the arriving female juveniles will take part in making the facility "their own" by assisting in the painting of murals,'' he said.

In 2014, DOC chose to shutdown Camp Summit but after much lobbying by local state lawmakers the governor four months later reversed the decision.

Camp Summit was established in 1995 as a boot camp for male juveniles who DOC felt would respond favorably to the structure provided in the para-military style program.