RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center can be a tough place to stay, especially during the holiday season. That’s why JSC encourages the community to donate gifts and treats to the kids who aren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas in a traditional manner.
Detainees at the Juvenile Services Center in Rapid City receive donations annually to try and give them a sense of normalcy over the holidays. Snacks, pizza, gifts, and Christmas cards were all donated. The Department of Corrections Juvenile Division also provided Christmas movies for the youth in the center.
Joe Guttierez, Commander of JSC, said, “We want the kids to feel special; we want them to have some sense of normalcy, even though they are in the juvenile center over the holidays. We want them to have the opportunity to feel like a kid.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the detainees aren’t allowed visitors, which makes Christmas time even more difficult for those on the inside.
“At this time, where we don’t have in-person visitation by families, the juveniles have to have video visitation; they have visits over the phone, and by having a Christmas gift to open up, Christmas morning is pretty exciting for the kids. It shows them that we care and that the community cares about them as well,” said Guttierez.
The Commander and his staff are always looking for opportunities to make the youth of the detention center feel special, especially on the holidays when they can’t be with their families.