Wisconsin groups call to shut down Lincoln Hills
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he will not meet with a teacher who was knocked out by an inmate at Lincoln Hill Juvenile Corrections Center earlier this month.
The news comes the same day a new report was released about inmates reaching the roof and throwing metal at guards in August. The facility has been under federal investigation for three years after allegations of abusing inmates.
For the last ten years Monte Mabra has run a youth center teaching at risk kids to act or play music. But before that, he was in the state's correctional system for 20 years.
"I believed in the street code," Mabra said. "You don't snitch. You hustle, and you get it any way you can."
He recently took a trip to Lincoln Hills with state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, to see how things had changed, and he says moving all juvenile inmates to one state facility is a big problem.
"When you have all white guards, that come from up north, and you have an urban city kid that comes into a system, and it has to take on that belief system, it has no one that cooks the food that they cook, talks the language that they talk."
Inmates have attacked several guards and staff at the facility this month. Some say the problem is with a court order that required Lincoln Hills to cut down on using pepper spray and solitary confinement. The ACLU brought the lawsuit that forced the restrictions and says a return to old ways isn't the answer.
"23 hours a day in a cell alone, with essentially no programming," Wisconsin ACLU Legal Director Larry Dupuis said. "And the few times that kids did get out. The little time that they got out, they were chained to tables like animals."
Mabra says maybe the biggest issue is how far the kids are taken from family.
"Intimacy, the connection isn't there anymore, so the mother can't take the call, the father can't take the call. They can't make the trip to visit, so it's detachment."
A group of state senators have introduced a bill to shut Lincoln Hills down. Sen. Taylor says she wants to see multiple facilities closer to where kids live.