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Lincoln Hills closure to cause big changes in juvenile corrections

Lincoln Hills closure to cause big changes in juvenile corrections

Just a day after announcing changes to youth prisons in Wisconsin, Governor Walker is revealing details about his reorganization plan. Construction costs for the new facilities would total roughly $80 million, according to preliminary estimates from the DOC.

Litscher said the regional facilities will accommodate the inmate population.

While the new facilities wouldn't open until after 2019, Walker plans to move some male inmates from Lincoln Hills to the Mendota campus this fall.

166 inmates remain at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake - down about 40 percent from two years ago.

The facilities had already been under investigation by the Justice Department since 2015.

Require the DOC to relocate juveniles at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools (LHS/CLS) to five new Type 1 juvenile correctional facilities and one new juvenile mental health facility.

Lee said he spoke with staffers from the governor's office about the plan on Thursday before it was publicly announced. "Republicans and Democrats alike agree this is the way forward to reform juvenile corrections, and I thank state and local elected officials and interested organizations for partnering with us to develop this plan".

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"Any of the sightings we're going to work with the counties, that's why we work with the Wisconsin Counties Association to make sure they were part of this proposal as well because they'll be the ones that will help us find the appropriate sites since they are the ones that sentence people into the system", says Walker.

Wanggaard said there will likely be discussions with officials in the counties in southeastern Wisconsin to determine the best places for the facilities. The Lincoln Hills campus is more than 200 miles away from Milwaukee, where a significant number of inmates live.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, applauded Walker and said he would support the governor's efforts to change the juvenile corrections system. "We need responsible leaders who are more focused about solving problems and protecting lives than winning elections". How many kids have (been) abused during the 5 years Walker failed to act.

Tom Evenson, spokesman for Walker, said the plan is envisioned to be funded in the 2019-21 budget because "we want to work with all parties to implement it in a thoughtful and purposeful way". Walker has insisted for months that he is confident the Department of Corrections could handle the ongoing situation at Lincoln Hills, and has declined to visit staff there.

State Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), one of several Democratic candidates for governor looking to challenge Walker in November, argued the governor has had the "opportunity to do the right thing time and time again, but he only caved after the pressure became too much".

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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