Breaking News

Local News

December 26, 2010

Incarcerated for Christmas

Youth at Juvenile Correctional Facility still celebrate holidays

For a number of children in Logansport, there were no presents under the tree this Christmas, and for some, there was no family to share Christmas with either.

Around 100 boys from across the state spent Christmas day at the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility.

Superintendent Lori Harshbarger said the holidays can be a difficult time of year for youth who are incarcerated.

“There are kids here who suffer from mental illness and depression. The holidays are especially tough,” she said.

She said the employees at the facility, located on the grounds of Logansport State Hospital, still try to make Christmas special for the kids.

Harshbarger explained that there are people who think these kids shouldn’t receive any special treats or amenities, even during the holidays, because they’ve done something wrong.

“They’ve made some bad decisions, maybe, but they are still juveniles,” she said.

The holiday festivities for the 12- to 18-year-old boys began about a week before Christmas.

“Anytime we have holidays we do special activities,” Harshbarger said.

The boys were allowed to attend special Christmas religious services throughout the week.

“These were optional of course,” Harshbarger said.

These included a Catholic mass for advent and a Christmas carol sing-along at two services.

“There was a Christmas ‘Lessons and Carols’ service on Sunday. Students took turns reading the Christmas Bible verses, and after each we sang the carol that corresponded with the reading. Two students presented an original arrangement of ‘Silent Night’ with guitars,” said Mark Harmon, who works in media relations at the juvenile correctional facility.

Friday they had a small Christmas party at school. Some watched movies. Others played cards and chess. Volunteers brought in cookies and soft drinks.

“We work them hard every day, so this was different,” said John Morphew, who teaches math at the institution.

Throughout the weekend the kids will compete in pool, darts and Wii tournaments. They will be able to play chess and checkers and compete in a “Minute to Win It” challenge.

Some of the kids have to be distracted from the fact that they won’t be seeing their families during the holidays, Harshbarger said.

The facility offers four extra visitation sessions during the holiday season, but not all families will take advantage of the offer.

“For some kids, Christmas is really hard. Their families won’t come to see them. Some of them can’t,” Harshbarger said.

Logansport’s facility takes in kids from all over the state, she said, and some families simply have no way of getting to here to see their relative.

Even the children who get to see their family for Christmas, however, won’t be receiving any gifts from them.

“It’s not like their families can bring them presents,” Harshbarger said.

The only gift families can bring youth in the facility is money to be added to the child’s account, so the he can purchase items from the institution’s store.

Despite all of the things the kids can’t have for Christmas, Harshbarger said everyone does what they can to brighten their spirits during  the holidays.

“We keep them occupied and try to help them enjoy Christmas,” she said.

• Lindsey Ziliak is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police blotter: April 25, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS-PT042414 Princess Singing-MAK Fairy tale remix: Lewis Cass presents "Once Upon a Mattress" WALTON -- Barbra Burch played Queen Aggravain in Lewis Cass High School's 1985 production of "Once Upon a Mattress." Twenty-nine years later, she is directing the musical at the school. "It's kind of surreal," she said. "There are some things that ta

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Indiana Packers opening Frankfort plant FRANKFORT -- Delphi-based Indiana Packers bought a former Birchwood Foods meat plant in Frankfort and plans to reopen it this summer. Indiana Packers, which employs 2,000 full time at its Delphi plant, is investing $2.28 million to purchase, renovate

    April 24, 2014

  • Minding the nutrition gap Almost one in five children in Cass County who sometimes don't have access to enough food for a healthy life aren't eligible for federal assistance programs designed to address that lack, a new study indicates. Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap proj

    April 24, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 23, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall mortgage up for auction The mortgage note for the Logansport Mall is scheduled to be sold at auction early next month. Foreclosure procedures for the mall began when lawyers for Algonquin State Bank, N.A., out of Algonquin, Ill., filed a complaint against the mall's owner -

    April 23, 2014

  • NWS-PT042314 Earth Day4.jpg Being kind to their mother: Lewis Cass students plant trees on Earth Day WALTON -- Weeks of planning came together Tuesday as students planted 22 trees on the grounds of Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School in observance of Earth Day. Amy Densborn, a science teacher at Lewis Cass, wanted to plant the trees so that students in s

    April 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • NWS-PT042314 Bags.jpg Students collect 2,475 pounds of plastic bags The Cass County Solid Waste Management District now knows to be careful what you ask for. The district opted to again this year host its plastic shopping bag contest for area elementary schools in observance of Earth Day. Overall, the district recei

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate sues for religious services at Miami County prison BUNKER HILL – A Native American inmate is suing the Miami Correctional Facility for violating his constitutional religious freedom after the prison last year terminated Native American worship services. Daniel Littlepage says in a class action lawsui

    April 22, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 22, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 22, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

     View Results