About Thistledew Programs at MCF-Togo


Our mission is to motivate and empower people to make positive changes in their lives.

Located deep in the pine and birch forests of Northern Minnesota, this unique educational facility continues to provide clients with the tools they need to move forward. For over 50 years Thistledew Camp has served as a correctional facility for juvenile males.entrance

Established in 1955 as Youth Conservation Commission (YCC), Thistledew Camp was designed as a forestry work camp for young offenders. The primary goal of the Minnesota Department of Corrections at that time was reforestation so the crews worked closely with the Minnesota Forestry Department.

In the 1995 Legislative Audit, Thistledew was rated as one of the most successful delinquency prevention programs in the State of Minnesota.

Thistledew Camp changed its name in 2006 to MCF-Togo (Minnesota Correctional Facility – Togo) keeping the Thistledew designation to describe the juvenile programs.

MCF-Togo accepts referrals from all counties in Minnesota and works with adjudicated youth and youth-at-risk, thirteen to seventeen years of age.

Thistledew programming has evolved through the years to meet today’s needs. Currently there are four (4) programs available for juveniles:

Boys Residential Short-term (90-116 days)

Portage Chemical Dependency Treatment Program Short-term for boys (90-116 days)

Wilderness Endeavors –Boys (21 days)

Wilderness Endeavors – Girls (21 days) programmed separately

In 2004 MCF-Togo added the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) for adult women to its facility. Due to an expansion of the Challenge Incarceration Program by the MN Department of Corrections in July 2014, the female CIP program was relocated to MCF-Shakopee, and male CIP offenders were placed at MCF-Togo. This six month, minimum security program is operated separately from the juvenile programming in compliance with federal guidelines.

All of the programs at Thistledew embrace the concepts of Restorative Justice, the Five Guiding Principles and Relationship-based Community.