Dylan enjoys the increased freedom and ability to communicate in the YTRI Unit. Developing relationships and working closely with the staff has helped Dylan meet goals and work on difficulties, he said.
Nathan, who once didn’t enjoy the increased responsibilities, is learning to embrace and even enjoy them, he said.
The unit is a contrast to the general population units where it is highly structured and talking to others and personal items are not allowed.
James Manley, youth development specialist, has had experience working with both the general population units and now the YTRI Unit. He described the difference between the two as “night and day.”
“The kids have proved they can behave and stay out of trouble,” Manley said. “By getting them away from some of the negativity, they’re able to open up and show their true personality.”
Manley said he hopes it continues to grow in other facilities and in other states.
The YTRI Unit has had a special impact on Gage, who’s been in the unit since it opened. Gage has been at the Logansport Juvenile Facility for 16 months and has eight more months to go before he completes his time.
The four months in the YTRI Unit have been “life-changing” for him, Gage said. “I want to take more responsibility.”
Gage, who earned his General Educational Development diploma while he was in the facility, is able to work one-on-one with a storage clerk during the week. He has turned his longer stay in to an opportunity to mentor others.
“My self-discipline has changed a lot,” Gage said. “I’m able to mentor others and it feels good. Because I’ve been through a lot, I get to explain how to get through it to others.”
Each day the students in the YTRI Unit attend classes. Those who have earned a GED usually go to vocational classes. There are also several learning opportunities to receive certifications in occupational health and safety admission, C-Tech and in food preparation safety.