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Tempers flare at public meeting to move state youth prison to Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- A new juvenile detention facility in Milwaukee is sparking outrage from those who would live nearby. The site has been selected but the sale has not gone through, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Just north of an old gas station at Teutonia and Mill, Gov. Tony Evers announced the site will house 32 of the most violent juvenile offenders in the state. It's one of four locations that will replace the troubled Lincoln Hills.

West Mill Road and North Teutonia Avenue

"The general location is of great concern," said Glendale Alderman Richard Wiese.

"It's an ideal location for it in a way because it's away from residential," said a business owner across from the proposed site.

Opposing views came out in a heated meeting hosted by Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton Thursday night, March 14, who argues he nor his district were ever asked for their opinions.

Ashanti Hamilton

"Engage the people who are actually going to be affected," Hamilton said.

Act 185 created a 25-member committee that included Senator Lena Taylor, who unanimously recommended a different site, but the one at Teutonia and Mill was ultimately selected, according to a release from Governor Tony Evers earlier this week.

"The governor unilaterally with the major decided in a back door meeting I guess to choose a site without allowing the constituents on the east end of my district to even be heard," said Senator Taylor.

Lena Taylor

Hamilton said the meeting should have come before a decision on location. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he preferred the site because it doesn't place all young offenders in one part of town.

"This will be somewhat controversial by the number of people here," Mayor Barrett said.

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections said 90-percent of the young people at Lincoln Hills come from Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

The location at Teutonia and Mill will be the state location. The county chose one location at 33rd and Hampton for one, and are still deciding on another. The fourth is in the Fox Valley.

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