American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin
Press Release

Youth Advocates Remain Committed to Closing Wisconsin Youth Prisons Following Monitor’s Report

 

By - Mar 5th, 2020 01:45 pm

MILWAUKEE – The ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center today reaffirmed their support for closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools, following the release of a court-ordered monitor’s report evaluating the extent to which the facilities have complied with a 2018 Settlement Agreement. The ACLU and JLC are counsel for the youth detained at LHS and CLS.

The fifth monitoring report since settlement of the case contains both signs of progress and areas of concern. While the prisons have taken concrete steps toward meeting some requirements of the lawsuit — particularly eliminating the use of pepper spray — they remain lacking in programing, short on educators, are not providing adequate mental health care and rely too heavily on administrative confinement.

“While the lawsuit has certainly achieved some semblance of harm reduction at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, prisons are still no place for children,” said Karyn Rotker, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Wisconsin. Although conditions may be somewhat better than they once were, these facilities still have a number of problems, and our ultimate goal should be to close them.”

“Let’s be clear: prisons will never meet the needs of young people,” said Karen U. Lindell, Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. “Even as Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake make some much-needed changes, the children imprisoned there continue to suffer. Wisconsin must implement and expand community-based alternatives to incarceration that offer youth the services and support they deserve.”

The monitor’s report is attached.

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