In the new Netflix docu-series Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up, viewers are taken inside the walls of Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility — home to 170 “students” (not inmates) as they deal with the daily struggles of being a teenager behind bars. Despite the success it had on reforming young women, the maximum security center was shut down before the show premiered on the streaming platform.
According to the Madison Courier, the facility was closed last October because of the decreased number of female juvenile students while the state has seen an increase in the female adult offenders in the facility next door. “The move of students from the Madison facility could provide more space to house adult female offenders in the future if space is needed,” the publication stated.
This means that the girls were moved to Camp Summit Boot Camp in LaPorte, which will move its young male inmates to Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. The closure is actually a good sign, as the Indiana Department of Correction has reportedly gone from 200 female juvenile students 10 years ago to just 40 in 2017.
In Girls Incarcerated, superintendent John Galipeau revealed he had been working with kids, like Briana Guerra and Najwa Pollard, for 20 years, and described the opportunities available at the center. “Madison is a maximum security facility that gets girls from all over the state. Their offenses range from small-time drug possessions, breaking and entering, armed robbery, aggravated assaults, and weapons charges,” he said in the first episode. “Most of the girls here, they’re not sentenced to do a certain amount of time, they’re sentenced to complete a program.”
Being a counselor, you never got to see the girls “on the outs” and I’m so thankful to see this girl flourish. Chrissy, I am SO PROUD of you. (And Steph– you too!) #GirlsIncarcerated pic.twitter.com/mRbcGkGZiA
— Jacie Minnick (@jacie_minnick) March 3, 2018
He continued, “They get an education, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment. When we compare our statistics, nationally, with performance-based standards, math scores, reading scores, family contact, Madison comes out on top.”
And employees at the facility also enjoyed seeing the growth of the students over time. “The hardest part of the job is gaining the trust of the youth because most of them have never been able to trust the adults in their lives,” one employee wrote on the job review board Indeed. “The most enjoyable and rewarding part of my job is gaining the trust of the youth, watching the youth development and change their poor behavior into more positive behavior and attitude.” Another added, “It is a great place to work for. But you must have patience and a strong drive to help people.”
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