BRAZIL, Ind. (April 20, 2018) – Inmates at Indiana state prisons have raised $2,500 for the new Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch now under construction for future law enforcement officers, at-risk kids, young witnesses, victims and survivors of crime.
Offenders raised funds in a variety of ways to benefit the not-for-profit Youth Ranch, which is being developed in West Central Indiana as the permanent home for teen leadership camps that sheriffs and deputies have been hosting for 38 years.
Officials say the money will be used to buy and install exterior lighting, which will help safeguard middle schoolers and other visitors of the Youth Ranch.
“With the help of offenders from multiple facilities throughout the state, we will be able to install much-needed lighting at our main entrance off State Road 59 south of Brazil,” said Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden, who serves on the Youth Ranch board. “The offenders’ contributions will also purchase LED streetlighting for our K-9 Academy, our Lodge and Conference Center, and our storage building.”
Harden was joined by Marion County Sheriff John Layton and Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom in receiving a check from the Indiana Department of Correction’s Commissioner Rob Carter.
“This donation speaks to the positive impact DOC can have on inmates and how those detainees can pay it forward to our citizens,” said Layton. “What a unique partnership – correction officers, offenders, sheriffs, future deputies, at-risk kids, young witnesses, victims and survivors of crime.”
Cottom said “the Youth Ranch mission, which includes bonding with at-risk kids, will hopefully keep these youth from trouble and possible involvement in crime. I’m sure there are inmates today who wish a project like our Youth Ranch existed when they were teens.”
“The IDOC focuses on preparing our offenders for re-entry on day one of incarceration,” DOC’s Carter said. “A critical part of that is getting behind the efforts of our PLUS Unit offenders who want to give back to their community.”
The Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) is Indiana’s faith and character-based housing unit re-entry initiative. The PLUS program began in June 2005 at 3 pilot sites – an adult male facility, an adult female facility and a male juvenile facility. Currently, there are about 1100 adult participants at 13 facilities, with 350 enrolled in the faith track, and 750 in the character track. PLUS is also offered at Pendleton Juvenile and Logansport Juvenile facilities. To date, over 8000 adults have graduated from PLUS.
“From the beginning, PLUS units have supported efforts to serve at-risk youth. There’s a genuine desire amongst the men and women of PLUS to help kids avoid making the same mistakes that brought them to prison,” said Dave Liebel, IDOC Director of Religious Services.
Cottom said the ISYR is being built through private donations. Personal, business and organizational checks may be dropped off at any local sheriff’s office or mailed to the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, 5401 S. East St., Suite 117, Indianapolis, IN 46227.