Assembly votes to keep youth prison open longer, until July 2021

Lincoln Hills School

MADISON — The state Assembly has passed a bill extending the deadline for closing Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison.

The Legislature overwhelmingly passed a law last year that requires the Department of Corrections to close the prison near Irma by Jan. 1, 2021 and create smaller state- and county-run facilities for juvenile offenders. The prison has been dogged by allegations of guard-on-prisoner abuse.

But Gov. Tony Evers says that timetable is too aggressive and it will take longer to get the smaller facilities built.

Republican Rep. Michael Schraa introduced a bill that would keep the prison open until July 1, 2021. The Assembly approved the bill Thursday on a voice vote with no debate. The proposal goes next to the Senate.

Evers has said meeting the July deadline may be impossible.

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