6 Things to Know About Lincoln Hills
A primer on how state’s youth prisons will be changed. Or not.
When it comes to replacing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons, there is no shortage of opinions. Or outrage.
That was the case last week after Gov. Tony Evers announced where the state-run facilities will be located and it became clear that Milwaukee will become home to two new facilities–one run by the state and one run by the county.
In his budget proposal, the governor suggested postponing closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake indefinitely and dramatically increasing the amount of funding for the new replacement facilities.
Neighborhood residents, elected officials and advocates all expressed frustration with the news, which reached a crescendo at a meeting last week hosted by Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, whose district is where the contested site is located.
The system established to replace Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake will have an effect on the city’s young people for years to come. (For a deeper dive, check out our explainer piece.)
Here are six things you need to know to catch up with the latest news:
1. The state took Milwaukee County’s chosen site to build a new secure facility.
Evers announced last week that the Department of Corrections will begin to build two Type 1 secure facilities for youth with the most severe offenses. One of the locations is in Milwaukee, 6600 N. Teutonia Ave., and it is the same site where Milwaukee County was planning to build its new youth facility. The other state-run secure facility will be in Hortonia, Wisconsin.
Kevin Carr, Department of Corrections secretary, said although the site has been chosen, the land has not been purchased from the City of Milwaukee yet. Mayor Tom Barrett expressed his support, saying he is a “fan of this site.”
State Sen. Lena Taylor said the Milwaukee County site will be at least 14 acres.
In January, Milwaukee County announced its two final locations for a proposed facility for youth with less severe offenses: 6600 N. Teutonia Ave. and 6101 W. Mill Road.
The county has re-opened its search for a site after the governor’s decision to build on the one it had chosen, said Mary Jo Meyers, the county’s director of the Department of Health and Human Services. She added the county also is considering privately owned land.
2. Evers proposed to more than triple the funding for building facilities to replace Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and to more than double the size of Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center.
In his budget proposal, Evers requested an increase in state funding for Act 185 from $80 million to $274 million.
The proposal increased the amount for the state-run facilities for Serious Juvenile Offenders from $25 million to $115 million for the two facilities. His plan also increases the amount for counties to compete to open centers for youth with less severe offenses from $40 million to $100 million.
Additionally, the proposed budget nearly quadruples the amount allocated to expanding Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center, from $15 million to $59 million. As of last week, Mendota had a capacity of 43 beds but only had 24 youth staying there, according to Department of Corrections data. As of December 2018, there were only seven youth from Milwaukee placed at Mendota.
The governor’s budget proposal also gets rid of the requirement that the state Department of Health Services needs approval from the Joint Committee on Finance before constructing the expansion of Mendota.
3. Evers proposed to indefinitely suspend the deadline for closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and delayed the timeline for counties to receive state grants to begin building new facilities.
Act 185 required that Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake be closed by January 2021, but Evers’ budget removes that deadline.
The budget proposal also extends the timeline of the grant program for counties by three months. As is, counties need to submit their grant proposals to get state funding for new facilities by the end of March. Evers proposes changing the deadline to June 30. Recommendations would then be due to the Joint Committee on Finance by October 1, instead of July 1.
4. Milwaukee County announced the anticipated cost of building its new facility.
The county-run facility for youth with less severe offenses will cost an estimated $39 million, Meyer said.
The facility will have 40 beds that will be separated in “pods” of 8-10 youth. It will be staffed to have one adult per every five youth, and staff will be trained in “youth development principles.” Meyers said this will include education, vocational training and mental health treatment. There are currently 56 youth from Milwaukee County at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake who would qualify to be in the county facility.
Meyers said that the county would like to offer alternatives to correctional placements for youth but that Act 185 mandates funding be used solely for buildings.
5. Youth Justice Milwaukee advocates changing the funding structure of Act 185.
“Act 185 needs to change,” Moore said. “It needs to provide more flexibility so that we’re not building a building to cage young people, but so that we have an opportunity to provide mental health treatment, mentors, education. It’s a lot of money that they’re putting into building a building!”
6. Until Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake are closed, the price of housing youth there is going to continue to increase.
For every young person a county sends to Lincoln Hills or Copper Lake, the county needs to pay the Department of Corrections a daily rate.
Meyers said it costs a county $144,000 a year per youth.
For fiscal year 2019-2020 the yearly rate for a young person to go to Lincoln Hills or Copper Lake is $182,865.
For 2020-2021, it goes up to $200,932.
Any funding adjustments would need to be approved by the state legislature. Lawmakers in Madison are discussing a bill that could potentially make changes to Act 185 as well as the proposed budget over the next few months.
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on eighteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
More about the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: Lincoln Hills Continued Use of Pepper Spray, Suicide Risk Shows Youth Prison Model is Broken - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Apr 19th, 2019
- County Submits Youth Prison Proposal - Corri Hess - Mar 30th, 2019
- 6 Things to Know About Lincoln Hills - Allison Dikanovic - Mar 22nd, 2019
- Evers Announces Youth Prison for City - Laurel White - Mar 13th, 2019
- Gov. Evers Moves Forward on Plans to Close Lincoln Hills - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 12th, 2019
- Evers Proposes Delay Of Youth Prison Closure - Laurel White - Feb 28th, 2019
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: We Must Move With a Sense of Urgency - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Feb 27th, 2019
- MKE County: County Officials Offer Antidote to Youth Prisons - Dave Fidlin - Feb 14th, 2019
- Delay in Closing Youth Prisons Criticized - Allison Dikanovic - Feb 4th, 2019
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: “We need action, not excuses.” - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Jan 30th, 2019
- County Picks Location for Youth Offender Facility - Allison Dikanovic - Jan 29th, 2019
- MKE County: County Prepares for Lincoln Hills Closing - Corri Hess - Jan 26th, 2019
- Problems Continue At State Youth Prisons - Laurel White - Jan 15th, 2019
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: Unacceptable Conditions Show We Can’t Wait for 2021 to Close Lincoln Hills - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Jan 14th, 2019
- State Rep. David Bowen Applauds New Governor Evers Visit to Lincoln Hills, Copper Lake - State Rep. David Bowen - Jan 14th, 2019
- Evers Will Visit Lincoln Hills - Shawn Johnson - Jan 3rd, 2019
- New Residential Treatment Facility Opens - Allison Dikanovic - Dec 19th, 2018
- Youth Justice Milwaukee Hosts Successful Roundtable with Elected Leaders on Youth Justice Reform - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Dec 12th, 2018
- Youth Justice Milwaukee Calls for More Community Input at Department of Corrections Community Meeting on Plans for Lincoln Hills Closure - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Sep 18th, 2018
- Youth Justice Milwaukee Statement on Judge’s OK to Lincoln Hills Settlement - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Sep 14th, 2018
- Youth Justice Milwaukee Statement on Lincoln Hills Incident with Young Person with Appendicitis - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Aug 31st, 2018
- Op Ed: Lincoln Hills Closed. Now What’s Needed? - Sharlen Moore - Aug 27th, 2018
- Wall Blasts Walker, Schimel on Youth Prison - Laurel White - Aug 13th, 2018
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: Department of Corrections Should Meet with Stakeholders in Milwaukee on Lincoln Hills - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Aug 8th, 2018
- Juvenile Corrections Reform Signed Into Law - State Rep. Evan Goyke - Apr 2nd, 2018
- Governor Walker Signs Bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Bill into Law - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 30th, 2018
- Speaker Vos Statement: Signing of the ‘Wisconsin Model’ for Juvenile Corrections Reform - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos - Mar 30th, 2018
- Shilling statement on Lincoln Hills - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Mar 30th, 2018
- Rep. Bowen statement on passage of Wisconsin Model of youth justice - State Rep. David Bowen - Feb 21st, 2018
- Kleefisch-Bowen bill lays foundation for youth corrections overhaul - State Rep. David Bowen - Feb 13th, 2018
- Taylor and Bipartisan Legislators Introduce Juvenile Corrections Bill - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Feb 13th, 2018
- Walker Renews Call to Gut Services - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Jan 18th, 2018
- Supervisor Sequanna Taylor Offers to Help Governor Walker with Plan to Close Lincoln Hill and Copper Lake - Sup. Sequanna Taylor - Jan 18th, 2018
- Statement on Delayed Action at Lincoln Hills - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Jan 16th, 2018
- Governor Walker Calls on Legislature to Pass Bipartisan Reform for Wisconsin’s Juvenile Corrections System in 2018 - Gov. Scott Walker - Jan 16th, 2018
- Response to Walker’s revisions last night on Lincoln Hills - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jan 16th, 2018
- Another Walker Non-Answer on Lincoln Hills Raises a Significant Question - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jan 12th, 2018
- When Will Lincoln Hills Close? - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jan 9th, 2018
- Shuttering of Lincoln Hills a first step in bringing true rehabilitation for youth offenders - Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton - Jan 5th, 2018
- Career Politician Gov. Scott Walker Governs For Re-Election With Campaign Gimmick - Andy Gronik - Jan 4th, 2018
- Changes Needed at Lincoln Hills Now, Not After the Next Election - State Sen. Chris Larson - Jan 4th, 2018
- Walker agrees to do his job after years of willful neglect and political cover up at Lincoln Hills — now when it threatens his own re-election - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jan 4th, 2018
- Walker a Day Late and Dollar Short on Juvenile Corrections - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Jan 4th, 2018
- Governor Walker Announces Plan to Provide a Long-Term Solution for Wisconsin’s Juvenile Corrections and Treatment Systems - Gov. Scott Walker - Jan 4th, 2018
- Dana Wachs calls on Walker administration to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake - State Rep. Dana Wachs - Nov 16th, 2017
- Op Ed: Lincoln Hills Even Worse Than Reported - Jake Edwards - Nov 16th, 2017
- Close Lincoln Hills: Advocates and Officials Reiterate Call for Closing Abusive Youth Prisons - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Nov 16th, 2017
- 2018 Budget Includes $90,000 for Youth Training Program - Sup. Sequanna Taylor - Nov 6th, 2017
- Rep. Bowen statement on DOC Internal Affairs Unit - State Rep. David Bowen - Oct 10th, 2017
- Sen. LaTonya Johnson’s Juvenile Justice Reform Signed Into Law - State Sen. LaTonya Johnson - Aug 2nd, 2017
- Court Watch: Judge Rules on Lincoln Hills - Gretchen Schuldt - Jul 13th, 2017
- Federal Court finds current conditions of confinement for youth at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools unconstitutional - American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - Jun 23rd, 2017
- Court Watch: Pictures of Youths in Prison - Gretchen Schuldt - Jun 20th, 2017
- Abele Blasts State on Juvenile Prisons - Gretchen Schuldt - Apr 27th, 2017
- Court Watch: ACLU Seeks Lincoln Hills Injunction - Gretchen Schuldt - Apr 20th, 2017
- More Horrors at Juvenile Prisons? - Gretchen Schuldt - Apr 19th, 2017
- Court Watch: Chemical Spraying Used At Lincoln Hills - Gretchen Schuldt - Jan 27th, 2017
- Court Watch: Shocking Charges in Lincoln Hills Suit - Gretchen Schuldt - Jan 25th, 2017
- Corrections Officials Face Community on Lincoln Hills - Jabril Faraj - Jun 22nd, 2016
- Precious Lives: A Debate Over Lincoln Hills Problems - Dee J. Hall - May 24th, 2016
- Op-Ed: End Solitary Confinement, Especially of Youth - Laurence J. Dupuis - Feb 18th, 2016
- Murphy’s Law: Why Walker Allowed Lincoln Hills Abuses - Bruce Murphy - Feb 16th, 2016