Walker to close troubled Lincoln Hills prison, open regional teenage prisons

Walker to close troubled Lincoln Hills prison, open regional teenage prisons

The two correctional facilities had become for many juvenile justice advocates thesymbol of everything that could go wrong in a state system, with allegations of overcrowding, systemic abuse and near-Victorian squalor over almost a decade.

Walker's plan calls for seeking the $80 million in funding in 2019.

Multiple sources said it's possible that three of the new juvenile facilities will be located in southeastern Wisconsin, however it is unknown if any facility will be located in Racine County. An additional mental health facility would be built on the campus of the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison for female inmates.

Scott Walker's plan to move juvenile inmates out of a facility under federal investigation wouldn't be implemented until after voters decide whether to re-elect him this fall.

166 inmates remain at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake - down about 40 percent from two years ago. Investigations showed the facilities improperly trained staff, did not preserve video evidence, failed to document serious incidents and often failed to report incidents to parents and police, according to reports by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Republicans and Democrats alike agree this is the way forward to reform juvenile corrections", Walker said.

Each new facility will consist of 32-to-36 beds - with the money coming from new budgetary allotments by the DOC and the Department of Health Services. He says nothing in Walker's plan ensures Wisconsin will have an effective approach. "After years of neglect, and ignoring the many legislative proposals that I introduced to bring relief to juveniles and correctional officers, Governor Walker is just now getting to do his job right in time for another election bid", Taylor said in a statement.

Many key details are yet to be determined, however, including how education programs would be provided to the inmates and whether converting the Irma campus into an adult facility would require the approval of Lincoln County officials. How many lives have been ruined?

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State Superintendent Tony Evers, who is running against Walker for governor and has made the troubles at Lincoln Hills central to his argument to unseat Walker, said Walker's plan doesn't wash away the years of problems at the facility.

"It's going to leave us with the same problem", he said. "That's what we need, not a career politician who operates out of fear".

"We'll see how those five work out", Wanggaard said.

"Part of the reason why this is workable to make this change is right now we have a question of do we build a new facility to deal with the adult population", said Gov.

But Doug Curtis - a former Lincoln Hills staff member - disagrees.

"If the Legislature wants to advance the plan sooner we would be supportive of those efforts", he said.

Children at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake were routinely placed in solitary confinement, put in mechanical restraints, pepper-sprayed, and strip-searched.

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