County Submits Youth Prison Proposal
Asks state for $41.4 million to build secure residential center for youth now at Lincoln Hills.
Milwaukee County is asking the state for $41.4 million to construct a “Secure Residential Care Center for Children and Youth” that will house those currently living at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.
Milwaukee County’s proposal includes funding a 40-bed secured facility, health clinic and educational, vocational and training programs.
“In some ways, what has been a lot of abstract discussion is suddenly getting to be a very real solution,” Abele said. “What everyone is certain about is Lincoln Hills is a disaster. What this represents is a lot of hard work. While no one would suggest it is perfect, on our absolute worst day, it will be worlds better than Lincoln Hills.”
Last year, state lawmakers approved a plan to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake by 2021, following years of allegations of inmate abuse and neglect. Under Gov. Tony Evers‘ budget proposal, that deadline is eliminated. Evers has said the state needs to be realistic about the timeframe for establishing new facilities.
Milwaukee County hasn’t yet chosen its location for the Secure Residential Care Center.
The county’s movement to reform the youth justice system began in 2011 with Project Rise. Through Project Rise, the county has been changing its focus from punishment to rehabilitation to create more positive outcomes for youth.
The county’s proposal to the state also includes remodeling areas of the Milwaukee County Accountability Program (MCAP) at Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center on Watertown Plank Road, which includes 22 existing beds. Today, 57 Milwaukee-area youth are at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and 20 youth are involved in MCAP.
“Ultimately, Milwaukee County’s goal is to reduce the number of youth entering the justice system,” said Mary Jo Meyers, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. “We believe our system needs a complete redesign. This will require making changes in Milwaukee County to reduce recidivism and racial disparities and create a system of healing and a path that leads to better futures for our young people.”
Listen to the WPR report here.
Milwaukee County Submits Proposal To State For Youth Prison was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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- MKE County: County Has Just 22 Inmates in Youth Prisons - Edgar Mendez - Feb 24th, 2021
- Evers Pushes Juvenile Justice System Changes - Corri Hess - Feb 18th, 2021
- Youth Justice Milwaukee Calls for Transformation of the Wisconsin Youth Justice System as the State Acknowledges it Will Not Meet the July 2021 Deadline to Close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Prisons - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Feb 8th, 2021
- Pandemic Causes Youth Prison Problems - Graham Kilmer - Jan 27th, 2021
- Can State Rescue Youth Corrections Plan? - Graham Kilmer - Jan 11th, 2021
- State Can’t Meet Deadline to Close Youth Prisons - Graham Kilmer - Dec 30th, 2020
- MKE County: Crowley Defers Youth Corrections Grant Until State Has Sustainable Plan - Graham Kilmer - Sep 16th, 2020
- State Blows Up County Youth Corrections Plan - Graham Kilmer - May 20th, 2020
- Youth Advocates Remain Committed to Closing Wisconsin Youth Prisons Following Monitor’s Report - American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - Mar 5th, 2020
Read more about Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake here