Youth Justice Milwaukee
Press Release

Youth Justice Milwaukee: Wisconsin Must Include Community Input for Any Youth Transfers

"YJM agrees with President Hamilton that there are already enough correctional settings on the north side of Milwaukee."

By - May 10th, 2019 04:51 pm

Milwaukee, WI – In response to Tommy Kirk, a youth formerly incarcerated in Lincoln Hills, advocating for youth to be relocated to Milwaukee’s northside, Youth Justice Milwaukee co-founder Sharlen Moore released the following statement:

“Youth Justice Milwaukee (YJM) values the personal experiences of those who were incarcerated as children.  We agree that it is critical that the State of Wisconsin works with Milwaukee County to bring the children at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake closer to their homes as soon as possible. Act 185 creates the possibility of more correctional settings of up to 40 children each, which is a significant reason why residents do not want the facility in their neighborhood. The community was not asked what they wanted. They have also not been given alternatives to consider, such as homelike settings for youth that blend well into neighborhoods and provide a normative environment for positive change to occur. We have heard the community ask for the opportunity to learn more.”

“YJM agrees with President Hamilton that there are already enough correctional settings on the north side of Milwaukee. We urge decision-makers at the state, county, and city levels to actively include the community in planning to avoid repeating the same failed practices. There are ways to transfer youth out of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, and create residential settings that offer the appropriate level of security and support necessary for youth to sustain positive behavior changes and access services that meet their needs.”

Youth Justice Milwaukee is a broad-based campaign advocating for community-based, family-centered, restorative programs as an alternative to locking up children in Wisconsin’s youth prisons. Youth Justice Milwaukee represents a coalition of persons who were incarcerated as youth, families of youth who are or were incarcerated, service providers, and local and national youth justice advocates.

More about the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake

Mentioned in This Press Release


21 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Why Walker Allowed Lincoln Hills Abuses”

  1. Dave says:

    Just look at that face and tell me you see a guy who cares about anything but himself. He didn’t win 3 elections for Governor by himself, though. It took a state full of stupid, selfish, assholes to do that.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    I am not nor have I ever been a politician. A governor is a busy man and has a lot of staff working for him or her. I don’t doubt that Walker has a lot on his plate on any given day. But is there any way that a judge sends a letter addressed directly to him (not his office or his staff) about sexual assault of minors at a state run facility and he doesn’t know anything at all about it for more than 3 years? That is just really impossible to believe, unless you buy that he is that hands-off about matters in the state he runs.

  3. tom says:

    If Walker has so much on his plate that he is so overwhelmed and cannot respond to warning signs, how could he just pick up leave the state and run for President? A person that is overwhelmed with state issues cannot just turn around and all of a sudden dedicate every minute of his day to a presidential run. He did nothing because problem youth in housed in northern Wisconsin mean nothing to his political future. Walker is simply a criminal. Our despicable governor thinks nothing of denying healthcare to our poor and most vulnerable citizens. Walker cares about Walker’s future and nothing else. He will stab anyone to get ahead.

  4. tomw says:

    There are two elephants in this room (if you’ll pardon the pun) – one most of the young people involved are from Milwaukee and we all know how Walker feels about Milwaukee; two most are African Americans! It’s a perfect storm for the Walker Administration! Why is no one talking about Civil Rights Violations? So sad!

  5. Rich says:

    He did nothing because problem youth in housed in northern Wisconsin mean nothing to his political future.

    Let’s hope now that the problem youth housed in northern Wisconsin mean Walker has no political future.

    That is if this “state full of stupid, selfish, assholes” took the time to notice and then took the additional time to do anything about it. They’re probably too busy enjoying the extra $110 in spending money they got from “lower property taxes”…

  6. blurondo says:

    The Tea Party = racism + retaliation.

  7. Bruce Murphy says:

    Note to Tomw: the FBI investigation will be looking at potential civil rights violations.

  8. leah says:

    As easy as it is to point to racism and politics, the reason that Walker didn’t care is very simple and has been the hallmark of his stints as County Exec and Governor- ideology. When you commit to an ideology that has as it’s single goal the shrinking of government it doesn’t matter if the institution works or not. What’s most important is what it costs. To those who think like Walker, Lincoln Hills is a success because they were able to cut the budget by $25 million. In many ways they hope for failure so that the service can be privatized and government can shrink even more. As County Exec Walker allowed any number of services to fail and get taken over by the state because he had no interest in making them work, his only interest was to cut taxes by whatever means necessary. When you don’t believe in government your priority is not in making institutions work. Its in making it small.
    That’s why I never understood why people who rely on government in order to prosper, like the road builders, supported Walker. If your business relies solely on government spending and efficiently run institutions why would you ever support someone who only wants to cut spending and gut services? Illogical
    Grover Norquist, the darling of the small government set, said “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub “. The Walker administration (and the failing government of Gov. Brownback in Kansas) is the embodiment of that philosophy. Lincoln Hills is what drowning government in the bathtub looks like.

  9. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    To paraphrase Kanye West “Scott Walker doesn’t care about kids who end up at Lincoln Hills.” And neither does the trash that still Stand with Walker.

    That’s what a lot of this comes down to. These kids and their community are thought of as “less than”, and so in Walker World these atrocities are able to be swept under the rug for political purposes. And it’ll take people to start showing their humanity and making sickos like Walker and WisGOP to pay a price for being so callous.

  10. Bruce Thompson says:

    Doesn’t this have parallels with the situation with the county mental health center when Walker was County Exec?

  11. Frank Galvan says:

    Um…because he’s an incompetent boob?

  12. Bill Kurtz says:

    This is Walker’s “Flint, Michigan” moment.

  13. Jerry says:

    Walker is once again stalemating this situation and getting it out of the public eye. What staff person supposedly did not show him the letter and why haven’t we been told who did this and why hasn’t that person been disciplined like Walker wants done to civil service employees. Secondly: Where did the letter go? It must have been passed on to DOC administrators. Which administrator was given the letter and why didn’t that individual take appropriate action and why didn’t that administrator alert Walker to the seriousness of the issue. Why wasn’t that administrator disciplined. Walker does this all the time with the media. He refuses to dialogue with reporters or answer questions just like he does with open records. This like so many other issues needs a federal Dept. of Justice investigation in which people are put under oath to get at the truth. We all are of the belief that Walker knew of the problems and saw the letter but told his staff and DOC officials to bury it.

  14. Keith Prochnow says:

    Somebody call the state police. Arrest Scott Walker! Maybe the world could get a two-fer by also arresting his twin in Michigan, Rick Snyder. Two governors who slash the costs of caring for poor people in order to give a big tax break to the rich people who fund their campaigns. Book ’em, Danno!

    “Starve The Beast.” It’s Walker’s mantra, starve the beast so that it dies. Starve the County Parks, starve the transit system, starve public union workers, starve the DOC, at least the part that is required by law to protect the safety and health of its young charges. Then they’ll all go away.

    Starve The Beast is Walker’s local version of Grover Norquist flushing a reduced federal government down the toilet.

  15. Alene says:

    Judge Kruel thought sending the letter just to Walker would get some action. At that time we didn’t know as much about how Walker governs as we do now. Now we know that sending a letter just to the Governor may or may not get any action.

    In hindsight, Racine County Circuit Judge Richard Kreul should have sent the letter to Walker with copies to all of the leaders in the state senate and legislature, the head of the DOC, the FBI, and the state AG. It would not have gotten buried like it did if all of those people had been brought into it at the beginning.

  16. Jaime says:

    Thanks, Bruce, for opening this reader’s eyes. I thought I already knew how bad Walker is but this is a new low.

    There were a couple of comments that stood out for me out of many good ones: it’s probably even less than $110/ yr for taxpayers (assuming that’s what Rich meant.) I’m thinking it’s a good idea to put a number–a price, as it were–on the amount taxpayers would likely pay to spare those lives affected by Walker’s neglect. And the comment from Leah (great!) about people voting against their own best interests ties together, imho, with a need for a greater effort to educate taxpayers on how this government isn’t helping you (us.) yes, you’re doing your part right here.

  17. C says:

    This is not Wisconsin’s only issue of abuse within the walls of taxpayer funded facilities for children. The Eau Claire Academy was one of a handful of facilities selected by the Chicago Tribune and Medill Watchdog for a series about abuses in residential treatment centers. This facility has the same issues with abuse as Lincoln Hills and many of the same clientele, many who would rather be in Lincoln Hills. From broken femurs, arms, teeth and concussions by staff to attempted and successful suicides, the facility is not physically or emotionally safe. Children from both facilities are mistreated and when they commit acts against Lincoln Hills’ staff have gone to adult prisons, where they remain as adults. Should we keep these citizens imprisoned for charges brought by a facility that was abusing them? Should taxpayers pay over $120K/year per child for those children to become permanent residents of the system?

    Check out the original story here:

  18. PatrickL says:

    I think this issue is big. Because the FBI is involved, people are going to talk. How about a John Doe III?
    Wouldn’t it be great to get the ego-centric Mr. Walker on the stand. We can’t count on our own DOJ. A Federal investigation is the only way. I think Walker feels he’s done his job by replacing the the top DOC official.

  19. concerned says:

    If Milwaukee took care of their kids to begin with, they wouldn’t be at Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake School with all sorts of serious criminal issues. Who is really at fault here?

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    So the City of Milwaukee is to blame for kids being physically and sexually abused at the facility, not the abusers? I guess some people will find a way to blame Milwaukee for anything. Sad.

  21. Maizey says:

    It is the job of the staff to keep inmates safe, and they neglected their legal obligation to report the crimes.
    Now they have just paid out 300K. That warrants looking at the staff. The FBI? Oh goody.

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