Gov. Walker explains Lincoln Hills plan, includes expanding mental health treatment

Plan calls for spending $80M on five new juvenile prisons

Walker to not only close the two prisons, but create smaller regional facilities closer to family and support systems.

Walker announced the $80 million on Thursday.

The ACLU, in a news release, said the facilities had previously been under federal investigation for a range of abuses and violations of constitutional treatment of the youth.

According to the governor's office, the proposed reorganization has been in the works for over a year.

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.

Gov. Scott Walker announced Thursday that the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons will be changed into medium security adult prisons. In November, Department of Corrections officials indicated a desire to move the most aggressive inmates at the prison as a way to decrease the number of violent incidents at the facility.

DOC and the Department of Health Services, which operates the Mendota facility, will be responsible for drafting specific spending plans. "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".

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. Workers say conditions started to deteriorate more rapidly in 2011, when two juvenile prisons near Milwaukee were closed and teens were consolidated at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, located about 30 miles north of Wausau. How many lives have been ruined?

Plan calls for spending $80M on five new juvenile prisons
Wisconsin to Close 2 Juvenile Detention Centers Dogged by Abuse Charges

"As governor, he has failed to visit a single correctional or juvenile facility in his entire tenure", said state Sen.

"It was a planning as to get where we are today with Lincoln Hills/Copper Lakes as far as for the treatment and educational emphasis and providing treatment staff, and the next step in that development and ongoing improvement will be to match those type of improvements to smaller, community-based, organizational sites found within the community of need", Litscher said.

Converting Lincoln Hills into an adult facility "is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater", Crevier said.

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

For years, Democrats have been calling for Gov.

"We talked with lawmakers from both political parties", he said, "which is why you saw support from both parties yesterday".

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

In December 2015, dozens of state investigators arrived at Lincoln Hills to interview staff as part of a secret John Doe investigation of child neglect, tampering with public documents, intimidation of victims, use of pepper spray to cause bodily harm and intimidation of witnesses.

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