MADISON (WKOW) — Governor Evers said he supports Attorney General Josh Kaul’s decision to not launch a new investigation into the state’s juvenile prisons. This comes after a federal probe ended without charges after the youth prisons, Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, faced multiple allegations of abuse and neglect.
The latest report from a court-ordered monitor, who visited both prisons, found inmates still placed in solitary confinement and guards continued to use pepper spray. The courts did order the prison to reduce both practices. Evers said he was not satisfied with what the report described.
“We need to make sure that we continue moving forward to implement what the legislature and former governor put into law by building new facilities closer to home,” said Evers. “In the meantime, we have to make sure that that what’s going on there is appropriate.”
The governor pledged during his campaign to visit Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and followed through in his first week in office. He said the one thing he walked away with is that every teenager deserves to be closer to home.
“Even though some of them have created a situation for themselves by doing horrible things causing them to be there, they’re still kids,” he said. “That’s why I’m hopeful about this moving them closer to home and having good facilities that are more school oriented and less like a correctional facility.”
The governor said he remains committed to the safety of juveniles and guards at both facilities while the legislature continues to review prison reform proposals. Evers’ budget includes closing the youth prisons and raising the minimum wage of correctional officers.