MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plan to shut down juvenile prison (all times local):
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to move juvenile inmates out of a facility under federal investigation wouldn’t be implemented until after voters decide whether to re-elect him this fall.
Walker announced the $80 million on Thursday. It calls for changing the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons into medium-security adult prisons. The state would also open five new regional juvenile prisons and expand a mental health facility in Madison to house youthful offenders.
Under the plan, most of the juveniles wouldn’t be moved until next year at the earliest.
But Walker’s spokesman says that if the Legislature wants to speed up the timeline, the governor would support it.
Democratic critics say Walker isn’t acting quickly enough. A federal judge six months ago ordered the prisons to dramatically reduce the use of pepper spray, shackles and solitary confinement on inmates.
Juveniles will no longer be housed at a Wisconsin youth prison that’s been under federal investigation and the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging inmate abuse.
Gov. Scott Walker announced Thursday that the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons will be changed into medium security adult prisons. The state will instead open five regional juvenile prisons across the state.
A federal judge last year ordered the state to dramatically reduce its use of solitary confinement, shackles and pepper spray on inmates at the juvenile prison. The facility is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Wausau.
The announcement comes as Walker is up for re-election to a third term in November. He has never traveled to visit Lincoln Hills, a point his Democratic opponents have been hitting him on for months.