Milwaukee Council votes in support of process to build youth prison in city, replace Lincoln Hills

NOW: Milwaukee Council votes in support of process to build youth prison in city, replace Lincoln Hills

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Discussions will move forward regarding a new Type I juvenile detention center to be built in Milwaukee.

This comes after a state proposal earlier this week recommending a site in the far northwestern part of the city, at 76th Street and West Clinton Avenue.

In a special meeting, Milwaukee's Common Council voted 12-1 on Friday, Aug. 12, in support of initiating the process to create a new juvenile prison.

"It's not an up or down vote on the facility," said Council President, Jose Perez. "It's simply a mandate to start the dialogue, to start the community outreach."

For years, the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons operating in Irma, Wisconsin have faced reports of abuse and neglect.

A new facility would serve as a replacement, shuttering the existing centers, and reforming resources.

"This is all about the rehabilitation, trauma informed care, and mental health, that our young people who have to be incarcerated or are sentenced to have the best resources possible," Perez said.

With many currently incarcerated children from Milwaukee, Mayor Cavalier Johnson believes moving them closer to family will help them integrate into the urban area.

"We've got to think about what is in the best interest of those young people as we work to rehabilitate them to come back into our community, to come back into our society," Johnson said.

It will be a multi-step process through the state and city before the council can officially give zoning approval. Community involvement and public comment will be an important part of that process.

"The Department of Corrections, and I believe some other opportunities, will have sessions where people can come and talk about their support and perhaps even opposition to the project," Johnson explained.

In Feb., the Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously approved $42 million in funding to go towards the project.

Now that the resolution passed Friday, the proposal will head to the State's Finance Committee.

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