Another lawsuit filed against Wisconsin’s youth prison by former inmate with permanent brain damage

IRMA — Another federal lawsuit has been filed against Lincoln Hills School for Boys/Copper Lake School for Girls — Wisconsin’s youth prison.

A former Wisconsin youth prison inmate has filed the federal lawsuit alleging staff ignored signs that she was contemplating suicide and failed to prevent her from hanging herself.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, January 30th is the second federal action involving the prison in a week. Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit on January 23rd alleging guards needlessly pepper spray inmates and place them in solitary confinement.

The new lawsuit alleges the girl told prison staff she was having suicidal thoughts in October 2015. She hung herself in her cell that November. Guards saved her but she suffered a brain injury and will require around-the-clock care the rest of her life.

The lawsuit alleges the staff’s indifference amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

A Department of Corrections spokesman didn’t immediately return a message.

Meanwhile, two civil rights groups decided to file a lawsuit challenging conditions at Wisconsin’s youth prison because state and federal investigations at the facility have apparently changed nothing.

The ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center announced the lawsuit Tuesday, January 24th. They’re suing state officials for cruel and unusual punishment at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls — youth prisons in Irma. This, on behalf of four Milwaukee teenagers.

The lawsuit says guards routinely used pepper spray, and even “bear mace” against the young inmates, and kept them in solitary confinement for up to two months at a time. This, at a supposed “school” meant for rehabilitation.

Larry Dupuis

Larry Dupuis

While announcing the lawsuit in Milwaukee, ACLU officials said investigators have witnessed and seen videos of abuse at Lincoln Hills.

“The guards have grabbed him by the neck and are pushing his head against the upper part of his back. Is that really necessary?” Larry Dupuis, ACLU of Wisconsin said.

meeting

The 40-page federal lawsuit claims up to 20 percent of the inmate population sits in solitary confinement for 22 or 23 hours a day, some for two months at a time.

Meranda Davis said her daughter attempted suicide.

Lincoln Hills School

Lincoln Hills School

“She ripped a shirt and tied it around her neck,” Davis said.

Meranda Davis

Meranda Davis

Davis, one of the parents suing state officials said she hoped her daughter would be rehabilitated for auto theft and battery.

“That`s what I thought they were going to do, but her being in that place — and I`m a living witness — it`s no help at all,” Davis said.

Plaintiffs also say in the suit prison guards used pepper spray, and even mace designed to ward off bears 200 times from January through October of 2016.

“The kid I saw was being pepper sprayed for not taking his shoes off,” Dupuis said.spray

An abuse scandal at Lincoln Hills uncovered in late 2015 sparked criminal investigations. Several staffers lost their jobs and state officials said they’ve made improvements.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections said they’re “reviewing the lawsuit,” and have “no further comment at this time.”

Governor Scott Walker’s office was warned as early as 2012 about Lincoln Hills in a letter from a Racine County judge.

Walker has said he never saw the letter.

Lincoln Hills School for Boys

Lincoln Hills School for Boys

“Whether governor Walker has some personal culpability or not, it`s not necessary for us to do that to try to put a stop to this,” Dupuis said.

The suit does not name Governor Walker. Through a spokesman, Walker said he’s confident in Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher’s ability to reform and lead the agency.

Litscher is the lead defendant in this case.

3 comments

  • deleted again

    Deal with these thugs on a day to day basis and see how you would handle them. The prison didn’t hang the girl, it’s another case of looking for someone to take the blame for a criminal.
    I can’t say the prison is blameless but the criminals have to accept responsibility.

  • REVEREND AL SHARPTON

    SMH IF SHE DONE ACTED LIKE A REAL MOMMA MAYBE HER LIL GIRL WOULDNT BEEN RUNNING THE STREETS AND SHE WONT OF BEEN LOCKED UP IN THAT PLACE. BLAME YO SELF MRS DAVIS YOU SHOULD BE SUING YO SELF FOR BEING A CRAP PARENT. INSTEADA LOOKN TO SUE SOMONE HOW BOUTS YOU TAKE REPONSIBILITY FOR YO OWN ACTIONS N LETTN YO LIL YOUNGN RUN THEM STREETS LIKE SHE SOMETHING. SMH YOU TO BLAME NOT THE STATE NOT THE PRISON NOT THE OFIICERS NOT NOONE BUT YOU AN YO HORRIBLE PARENTING SKILLS YOU SHOULDA HAD THAT LIL ONE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU YEARS AGO. SMH MRS DAVIS YOU OUT YO MIND IF YOU THINK US TAX PAYERS GONE PAY FOR YO MISTAKE YOU OUT YO DAMN MIND GIRL OUT YO MIND !!!!!!!!! SMH

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