MILWAUKEE – Gov. Tony Evers’ office says Wisconsin is one step closer to closing the troubled juvenile correctional centers Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake in Irma as the state has selected the new location for a new juvy facility in Milwaukee.
Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake has been subject to much controversy. In 2015, law enforcement officers raided the facilities after years of reports of neglect and abuse. Subsequently, many lawsuits regarding “youth mistreatment” followed, according to a press release from Gov. Evers’ office. The state has spent more than $25 million in legal fees and settlements.
The new site will be located in an old emissions testing center at 7930 W. Clinton Ave.
“This has been such a long time coming,” Urban Underground Executive Director Sharlen Moore tells WTMJ.
“The facility was supposed to be closed a few years ago,” Moore continues. “We’re now at the point where we can finally identify a location, which is 79th and Clinton, and began to move forward with the critical process of engaging the community and getting the necessary protocols in place”
Moore says finding the new location took time partly due to it being group effort in determining the best possible spot.
“The Department of Corrections have now identified a space that advocates, I along with the Felmers Chaney advocacy board, provided them information on.”
Lack of familial visitation and support is a key reason Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake need to be closed, according to Moore.
“For many families it’s very difficult to find the time to visit their young person often,” Moore says. “So young people typically don’t get a lot of visits.”