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Juvenile Programs

Indiana Department of Correction—Division of Youth Services

Treatment Programming & Mental Health Services

After being committed by a judge to the Indiana Department of Correction – Division of Youth Services (DYS), youth are sent to a DYS Intake Unit. Upon arrival to DYS, youth are assessed for individual needs, including criminogenic, mental health, educational, vocational, aftercare, etc. Criminogenic needs are those that lead to youth committing crimes within their home, school, and community. These needs include thoughts and beliefs, coping/self-control skills, peer and/or family relationships, education and/or employment issues, alcohol and/or drug use, and use of free time.

Youth are each assigned a correctional counselor/case manager at their facility who manages their case management plan, which has two parts: First, an Individual Growth Plan (IGP) for setting goals to achieve and programs/services to receive while in the facility. Second, an Individual Aftercare Plan (IAP) for setting up services and other supports for after release.

As part of these plans, youth are then matched to appropriate programs/services in the facility. These programs/services teach youth how to get their needs met in positive ways, support a positive identity, develop/maintain healthy relationships, increase their resiliency, regulate their emotions, and reintegrate with their families. Finally, volunteer - led programs help youth have a sense of community and a desire to contribute to it in a positive way. Overall, DYS youth programs and services prepare youth to re-enter their communities as positive, productive, and law-abiding citizens.

The Behavioral Health Department offers both routine and emergency services to any youth who requires them. These include comprehensive behavioral health screening and evaluation when a youth enters the facility; individual, group, and family therapy when indicated; and medication management services by a psychiatrist. For youth in crisis, daily assessment and monitoring is conducted by behavioral health teams to ensure youth safety and to help youth return to routine daily activities as soon as they are able. The Behavioral Health Department also includes a team of Addiction Recovery specialists who provide substance use assessment and treatment to youth who have struggled with drug or alcohol use in the past.

The Mental Health Department works in close collaboration with the other professionals at the facility, including Custody, Education, and Program Directors/Counselors. This collaboration ensures that youth receive the most thorough care and skill development while they complete the requirements of their assigned programs and services.

Core Cognitive-Behavioral Programs:

Core cognitive-behavior programs help youth develop accountability and positive beliefs. Youth also learn and practice skills that help them reduce their risk of committing crimes in the future. Core treatment education programs are facilitated by correctional counselor/case managers, are offered at all facilities, and include:

  • The Why Try Learning Strategies Program:

    Why Try is brief, solution-focused treatment with a strengths-based approach. Why Try helps youth overcome their challenges, achieve positive goals, practice life skills, and develop plans and support for re-entering their community.  Why Try pairs cognitive-behavioral lessons with easy-to-remember pictures.  These pictures (the metaphors) teach social, coping, and emotional regulation skills to youth in a way they can understand and remember. Youth also learn positive ways to answer the question: “Why try in life?” The metaphors are reinforced by supplements that include short reflective writing; music and music-based projects; art projects; and hands-on physical/experiential activities.

  • Moral Reconation Therapy:

    MRT seeks to decrease recidivism among youth by increasing moral reasoning. MRT targets youth who are high risk to re-offend and/or are high risk in pro-criminal sentiments, criminal thinking, criminal lifestyle, and anti-social attitudes/values.

  • Anger Management:

    This program is designed to help youth understand and utilize ways to not only recognize their anger but also control it through making appropriate choices. Topics discussed include what causes anger, growing up with anger, how emotions develop, relaxation, managing anger, self-talk, action controls, etc.


    VOICES is a gender-specific program of self-discovery and empowerment offered only at the LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facility. It encourages female juveniles to seek and celebrate their “true selves” and explore issues important in the lives of adolescent girls.  The curriculum uses a variety of therapeutic approaches, including psycho-educational, cognitive-behavioral, interactive journaling, expressive arts, and relational theory.

Core Treatment Programs:

Core group therapeutic services are facilitated by trained behavioral health professionals and/or addiction recovery specialists.

  • IDOC Health Services

    The Indiana Department of Correction Medical Division prides itself on providing the highest available quality of care to incarcerated individuals. The Addiction Recovery Services, Mental Health Services, and Physical Health Services provide numerous services within our facilities and coordinate services for individuals released back into the community.

  • Indiana Sex Offender Management and Monitoring Program (INSOMM):

    INSOMM is provided to youth who are adjudicated of a sex offense.   INSOMM is facilitated by Liberty mental health professionals.  Youth receive sex offender specific treatment that requires them to take responsibility for their offenses, progress through sex-offender specific, intensive treatment; and prepare to accept polygraph examinations and specialized parole stipulations after release to the community.  Male youth in INSOMM are housed in a single unit at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.  Female youth complete INSOMM individually at LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facility under the supervision of an assigned Liberty behavioral health professional who works with youth remotely or during schedule site visits.

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