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Closure of Indiana juvenile boot camp put on hold

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State officials are delaying the closure of a paramilitary-style boot camp for juvenile offenders in northwestern Indiana.

Gov. Mike Pence's office said Monday that any changes to Camp Summit Boot Camp near LaPorte are on hold.

"It is critical to Governor Pence that all feedback be taken into consideration and he has asked the Department of Corrections to hold on the transition for the time being so that we can continue to work with those affected," Pence spokeswoman Kara Brooks told The Times of Munster.

The Department of Correction announced in late August it would close the boot camp by Oct. 1 and transfer the 72 teenage male inmates to community-based programs or other state facilities. The agency said it was taking the step to save money and because juvenile offenders are spending less time in the prison system.

Camp Summit, a medium-security facility opened in 1995, combines military components with programming that addresses the needs of adolescents while creating an environment for change and growth, the agency said. The LaPorte County camp sits on 60 acres about 30 miles west of South Bend.

Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said the closure was unnecessary and aimed to make the state's $2 billion surplus "look more bloated than it already is."

"It's an outrageous misalignment of priorities," Pelath said. "They need to reverse this."

State records show Camp Summit has consistently cost less to operate than other DOC juvenile facilities. Laura Gorbonosenko, Camp Summit program director, said 75 percent of its staff members are military veterans or currently serving in the military.

The average daily cost per inmate at Camp Summit in 2012-2013 was nearly $140. The next lowest was North Central Juvenile at $205. Pendleton ranked second highest at almost $290 — just over twice as much as Camp Summit.

Camp Summit has a recidivism rate of 20 percent compared to Pendleton's 40 percent, Gorbonosenko said.

Pelath said taxpayers should be upset at the possibility of closing the camp.

"Prevention is far less costly than incarceration down the road," he said.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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