Kleefisch-Bowen bill lays foundation for youth corrections overhaul
A public hearing on the agreed upon bill will be held this Thursday at 9 a.m.
MADISON – This morning, a bipartisan coalition of legislators announced Assembly legislation that would close Lincoln Hills by 2020, instead opening county-run secure residential care centers for less serious youth offenders while keeping Serious Juvenile Offenders (SJOs) under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections (DOC).
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of over a year of discussions with legislators on both sides of the aisle, judges, system stakeholders and advocates as I have made the reform of our youth corrections system a key focus of my work as a legislator,” said Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee). “Providing evidenced-based, secure local options for judges was our goal, and this bill uses an existing, but unused, option to accomplish that goal. Allowing counties to run local, secure residential care centers focused on trauma-informed care with a low number of beds and low staff to student ratios will transform how we treat young people and deliver improved outcomes in addition to cost savings.”
Assembly Bill 794 (AB 794), the legislation that much of today’s announcement was built upon, would allow counties to collaborate or work alone in establishing secure residential care centers, moving less serious offenders into community-based treatment centers with a proven track record of reducing recidivism.
“Protecting our families is the most important goal,” said Representative Joel Kleefisch. “For those less serious offenders, it’s in our state’s best interest economically and ethically to ‘not throw away the key’ when it comes to arming those kids with the tools to become productive members of society.”
A public hearing on the agreed upon bill will be held this Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Assembly Committee on Corrections.
- 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
- Milwaukee County Wants Alternatives to Youth Incarceration - Sam Woods - Feb 22nd, 2020
- Youth Justice Milwaukee: Wisconsin is at a Turning Point in Youth Justice - Youth Justice Milwaukee - Feb 13th, 2020
- GOP Underfunds Youth Corrections Plan - Laurel White - Feb 13th, 2020
- Op Ed: Will Lincoln Hills Ever Be Closed? - State Sen. Jeff Smith - Dec 10th, 2019
- Special Report: New York’s After Care Program Helps Youth - Allison Dikanovic - Sep 17th, 2019
- MKE County: Youth Corrections Proposal Sent To State - Graham Kilmer - Sep 11th, 2019
- Special Report: Building Trust Can Help Juvenile Offenders - Allison Dikanovic - Sep 11th, 2019
- Special Report: How New York Handles Juvenile Justice - Allison Dikanovic - Sep 10th, 2019
Read more about Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by State Rep. David Bowen
“Passing These Bills Would Be an Important First Step towards Real Reform”
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