March 6, 2011

DOC explores expanding juvenile facility

Spokesman says male youth from South Bend, Pendleton could be transferred

by John Dempsey

— Rumors that the Indiana Department of Correction could take over buildings at the Logansport State Hospital have been floating since last summer.

Those rumors have some truth as the DOC admitted last week it could expand the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility’s treatment unit, which is located on the grounds of the hospital.

The DOC and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction have been in talks spokesmen for both agencies confirmed.

“The DOC is looking at taking over some of the buildings,” said Marcus Barlow, spokesman for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. “That’s something it is working out with DMHA.

“They want to wait until the patients are transferred to figure out which buildings they have interest in taking.”

DOC spokesman Doug Garrison said the talks are “fairly preliminary.”

“I don’t think we have a time frame. It’s far too preliminary,” he said. “I don’t think anyone could say with any kind of certainty of when something might happen.

“It’s in the discussion phase, and when it bears fruit, we’ll have a better idea of what’s going to happen.”

A recent rumor said the DOC was considering closing the South Bend juvenile facility and bringing those youth to Logansport.

Garrison admitted that South Bend youth could be transferred here — as could others.

“We also have a juvenile population in Pendleton that could be transferred,” he explained.

Approximately 105 juvenile males are in the medium-security facility in South Bend while Pendleton has an average of 242 juvenile males in its maximum-security facility. The state also has a boot camp outside LaPorte.

All of Indiana’s female juvenile population is housed in Madison.

Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility consists of two units — the intake unit on High Street and the treatment unit on the hospital grounds.

All males between the ages of 12 and 18 in the state who are committed to the DOC come through the intake center. A maximum-security facility, youth undergo a 13-day process here which includes a DOC orientation, physical exam as well as educational and risk-and-needs assessments. The process results with the classification of the juveniles to one of the present four DOC facilities.

The treatment unit is home to approximately 136 boys, who are classified low medium and high medium. There are three general population units; a Clean Lifestyle is Freedom Forever Unit (CLIFF), for those who are at risk for methamphetamine and admitted to drug addiction; and a Purposeful Living Units Serve Unit (PLUS) which houses students who have chosen to follow a faith or character based curricula.

The DOC employs 174 people in Logansport —137 in the treatment unit and 37 at the intake center — Garrison said. A number of vacancies have been filled by Logansport State Hospital employees who would have been laid off as a result of the transition plan.

• John Dempsey is the Pharos-Tribune’s associate editor and may be contacted at 574-732-5150 or by e-mail at