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"There isn't time to lose:" Assembly legislators reveal plan to close Lincoln Hills and overhaul juvenile justice system

MADISON (CBS 58) -- Assembly legislators unveiled a bill that would close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake by July 2020. 

Under the proposal, the biggest change would be for the counties. The counties would need to establish residential care centers. County governments can work with other counties to place youth offenders. The bill requires the committee to propose a facility that can house no fewer than 24 juveniles. 

For serious offenders, they will be place in new or existing state facilities.

"That was important for me that we moved juvenile corrections to show a different state of mind," said Senator Lena Taylor, 4th District.

Governor Walker proposed using the Lincoln Hills facility for adult offenders but that was not mentioned in the assembly's plan. There's been controversy surrounding the Lincoln Hills facility after allegations about guards abusing inmates. 

Representative Michael Shraa said he met with a few young offenders at Lincoln Hills.

"A number of those young males were failed by the system. Several young of the men we spoke with were there for the second time virtually no involvement from family," said Schraa. 

Assembly legislators are hoping by partnering with county governments, they can save lives and money. Legislators say they are not certain they can get the bill passed by the end of the legislative session in March. 

The bill will also create two committees. One of them will look into locations for new facilities, recommendations for them need to be turned in by November 2018. 

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