A shuttle service is now back in operation, giving people rides to see loved ones who are incarcerated.
The “Keeping Families Together Ministry” halted operations when the Indiana Department of Correction stopped in-person visits during the pandemic.
To visit prisons now, visitors need to fill out a new online form.
On top of giving people rides, the ministry also helps those without access to computers. You can reach them at 317-924-4124.
They try to schedule at least one trip per month to more than 20 different adult and juvenile correctional facilities across the state depending on people’s needs and interests.
Prisons Visited as per Regular Schedule
- Logansport Juvenile Facility
- Branchville Correctional Facility
- Correctional Industrial Facility
- Indiana State Prison
- Miami Correctional Facility
- New Castle Correctional Facility
- Pendleton Correctional Facility + Juvenile
- Westville Correctional Facility
- Plainfield Correctional Facility
- Rockville Women Prison
- Putnamville Correctional Facility
- Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
- Lakeside Correctional Facility
- Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex
- Indiana Women Prison
- Heritage Trail Facility
Prisons Visited Based on Rider Demand
- Madison Juvenile Correctional
- Chain-O-Lakes Correctional Facility
- Edinburgh Correctional Facility
- Correctional Facility
- Camp Summit Correctional Facility
- Madison Correctional Facility for Women
The price depends on the person’s ability to pay. The ministry is hosting a fundraiser September 23, to raise money and keep the cost down.
Founder Cecelia Whitfield started the service more than 30 years ago when her son was incarcerated and now that he’s free she says visits are important for everyone.
“When folks inside know that their families are able to get there, their families inside know that someone continues to care for them, it causes them to want to do the best that they can do so that when they come home, they won’t want to come back,” said Whitfield.
The ministry primarily serves people who are unable to drive themselves because they can’t afford it or because of a disability. The shuttle they use has wheelchair accessibility.
The rides are something that many have come to depend on and have missed since they shut down in March 2020
“There’s nothing like a face-to-face connection. Phone calls are very limited in time and scope, and you just can’t get the kind of communication you need when you’re in person,” said Susan Jones, who is blind and has been using the service for years.
For more information, you can visit their website.
A representative with the Indiana Department of Correction released this statement:
Indiana DOC facilities are set to resume visitation on August 30, but if a facility has cases of COVID-19, that can cause visitation to be postponed. Whether visitation is impacted is based on a number of factors, including facility population size, the number of positive COVID cases in the facility and the vaccination rate. Our staff are reviewing this data frequently to determine whether activities, including volunteers, classes and visitation, are safe to continue.
We want to be able to offer the public the chance to see their loved ones, but we also have to keep the safety of our incarcerated population and our staff at the forefront.