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Walker wants to move up youth prison closure

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker wants to close Wisconsin's troubled youth prison earlier than first planned.

The Republican governor, amid criticism from Democrats, is urging the Legislature to adopt his plan to close the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake juvenile facility near Wausau this spring, rather than 18 months from now.

The $80 million reorganization would change Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake into a medium security adult prison and open five smaller regional prisons for young offenders. An expanded mental health facility to house female prisons would also be built in Madison.

Walker said earlier this month he was open to moving up the closure if the Legislature wanted to do so this year, a move that could defuse a political liability for Walker as he seeks a third term in office.

Multiple lawsuits allege inmate abuse at the current facility.

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