MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on Wisconsin juvenile prison unrest (all times local):
Two northern Wisconsin lawmakers are asking a federal judge to reverse his order forcing juvenile prisons to curb their use of solitary confinement, pepper spray and shackles.
Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany, of Hazelhurst, and Rep. Mary Felzkowski, of Irma, wrote to U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Monday. They say his order affecting the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons for juveniles in their legislative districts is not working.
The letter came after a teacher there was knocked out by an inmate who was not in restraints.
The lawmakers tell Peterson that his order “has emboldened some youth offenders” making it unsafe for staff.
Corrections Department Secretary Jon Litscher said Thursday that he believes the prison is safe for both the inmates and staff.
The head of Wisconsin’s prison system says a troubled prison for juveniles is safe, a week after a staff member was punched by an inmate sending her to the hospital.
Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher said Thursday that the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons “is a safe place for staff and offenders.” He spoke to reporters after testifying before a state Senate committee about overcrowding in the state prison system.
His comments come amid an ongoing federal investigation into allegations of abuse by guards against young inmates at the juvenile prisons. The prisons are under a federal court order to dramatically reduce the use of pepper spray, isolation and shackles to control inmates.
Last week Gov. Scott Walker’s administration told the court progress is being made but there remains “significant unrest.”