Bipartisan bill seeks $42 million to build new Milwaukee County youth detention facility
Legislation comes after years of efforts to close Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake Schools in Irma
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MADISON – A bipartisan bill, backed by more than 30 lawmakers, including State Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk) and State Representative Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk), seeks to authorize nearly $42 million in general fund-supported borrowing to build a new Type 1 Juvenile Correctional Facility in Milwaukee County.
The introduction of the legislation comes after years of efforts to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools in Irma, which have faced years of allegations of abuse and neglect by staff and have been the target of millions of dollars in legal settlements against the state.
Lawmakers voted in 2018 to close the youth detention facility and replace it with six regional state- and county-run facilities. The following year, lawmakers approved a July 1, 2021 deadline to shut down the facility. The deadline was signed into law by Governor Tony Evers. The state ultimately missed the deadline the close the facility.
On Wednesday, Feb. 9, Evers announced that the Wisconsin State Building Commission had approved the release of $4 million in funding for the project development and design of a new Milwaukee County facility.
“I am glad after years of delays and obstruction by the Legislature, the Commission today released funding for the development and design of a new Type 1 Juvenile Correctional Facility in Milwaukee County so we can move forward on our goal to get our kids out of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and get them closer to home safely and responsibly,” Evers said in a release.