Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde Troubled By Lincoln Hills Allegations
Calls for Juvenile Justice System Reform in Wisconsin
Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde expressed “shock and deep concerns” over allegations of abuse and misconduct at Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma, Wisconsin, saying that a high proportion of youths housed at the facility are sentenced from Milwaukee County.
Moore Omokunde, a member of the Board’s Finance, Personnel & Audit Committee, said today he has was troubled about conditions as the Board considers a multi-million dollar contract that includes funding for placements at Lincoln Hills.
“This institution is located in a rural community about 3.5 hours from Milwaukee. I question whether the demographic makeup between Lincoln Hills staff and sentenced urban youths was a contributing factor to what has been called a ‘culture of indifference,’ and a ‘toxic environment,’” Moore Omokunde said. “It is time to have a frank discussion over whether this institution is the most appropriate placement for delinquent Milwaukee County youths, a many of whom come from black and brown communities. These allegations of serious wrongdoing at Lincoln Hills raise a lot of questions, and it is time to consider real reforms.
“While this investigation is ongoing, I call upon Governor Scott Walker, County Executive Chris Abele and the judiciary to work together to find appropriate secure placements for Milwaukee County’s adjudicated youths in a safe environment closer to home. We cannot continue to put these youths further at risk at a facility that may not be safe, given allegations that have recently come to light.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that state authorities and the FBI are investigating a range of “potential crimes” at Lincoln Hills, including second-degree sexual assault, physical child abuse and intimidation of victims and witnesses.
“From what we read, there appears to be severe wrongdoing at Lincoln Hills,” Moore Omokunde said. “The reports raise serious questions about the need for juvenile justice reform in Wisconsin. It is imperative that a serious discussion about the juvenile justice system take place both in Milwaukee County and across the State of Wisconsin.
“These allegations raise the question whether this type of placement in an institution so far from the sentencing county is an outdated model,” Moore Omokunde said. “This is an institutional Problem versus an incidental problem.”
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