Wisconsin Assembly to vote on shutting down Lincoln Hills

NOW: Wisconsin Assembly to vote on shutting down Lincoln Hills

The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to vote Wednesday on if they want to shut down Lincoln Hills as the state's only youth correctional facility.

The proposal would create smaller regional facilities across the state.

Those in favor of the plan say rehabilitating youth closer to home costs less and is more effective, but some say the proposal is moving too fast.

Youth Justice Milwaukee works with programs to give teenagers job skills. Founder Sharlen Moore says state money would be better spent on programs than new correctional facilities.

"Young people need job opportunities, internships, rehabilitation services, education opportunities," Moore said.

Lawmakers say Racine is a good example of how a county facility rehabilitates youth better than the state. Center superintendent Ed Kamin says there's a big difference between Racine's center and Lincoln Hills.

"It focuses on family involvement," Kamin said. "So every kid in ACE has a weekly meeting with their family. So we start talking week one about what's going to happen when you get home."

It's called ACE - alternatives to correction through education. Kids earn more high school credits than at Lincoln Hills at less than half the cost to the county.

They also commit less future crimes.

"We provide some great mental health services for our kids, we provide great medical for our kids, and our recidivism rate is about a third of what corrections is," Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said.

Moore says those services are great, and she wants enough time for community leaders to get services in the bill instead of just more buildings.

"Definitely want the process to be slowed down a little bit, just so the community has enough time to provide that input."

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