Without inmates from Milwaukee County, youth prison under federal investigation could close

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Lincoln Hills School for Boys

MADISON — Milwaukee County’s plan to pull its inmates from Wisconsin’s only secure youth prison is putting the future of the Lincoln Hills School in limbo.

The county’s move to bring its 134 young inmates closer to home comes amid a federal investigation into allegations of abuse at the school.

It could mean Lincoln Hills losing more than half its population and half its operating budget, which comes largely from county dollars. And that could spur significant cuts or possible closure of the troubled facility, leaving uncertainty about where the remaining 50 to 100 youth would be housed.

But some people view the declining Lincoln Hills population as an opportunity to rethink the state’s juvenile corrections system.


  • A yooper

    it is a prison. Not a Sandal’s resort.Be expected to get abused if you are sent there.Maybe an incentive to behave. Funny how one county out of 72 can provide 50% of prison population. What is the common denominator??

  • Sue

    Seriously?! I have known about Lincoln Hills since I was a teenager in the 90’s. People I knew got thrown in that dump. It’s not a surprise to me that there are allegations of abuse now, since it was going on over 20 years ago. Things don’t get better unless someone steps in to make it that way. New Beginnings for Girls/Boys was another place for society’s throw away children. If they don’t close it, maybe they’ll at the very least hire people who actually care about the welfare of the children that have to go there, and will rehabilitate them instead of treating them like garbage. I can only hope.

    • Cameron

      Sue, have you ever worked with this sort of population? I do. They do nit care about anyone or anything, even themselves. I have seen kids have to be taken down in a non-institutional setting for attacking staff and each other. Abuse? Possibly, in some cases. But I would imagine most cases, staff were acting out of self defense. You have no idea what it is like working with juvenile offenders. They are violent with no remorse. I do what I do because I can see a glimmer of hope. More and more that glimmer is fading. The system is a mess, starting from when these kids are born to 13,14,15 years olds with no social skills themselves and certainly no parenting skills. Thus, the cycle continues. Do you want these violent offenders out in the community? It’s not a matter of “if” they will commit more crime, it’s a matter of when. Then, where do they go?

      • oso

        1st, let out ALL or MOst of the crazy people. everyone will start shooting crazy if they can and then Marshall Law because of this. It’s all part of the plan, more or less

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