City of Milwaukee officials approve site for Lincoln Hills replacement facility
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MILWAUKEE – Officials in the City of Milwaukee this week approved the site where a new juvenile detention center will be constructed.
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) selected the site, a former vehicle emissions center at 7930 W. Clinton Ave. in Milwaukee, in Aug. 2022, and a City of Milwaukee Common Council committee unanimously voted to approve the site on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
The planned 32-bed facility, expected to be operational in 2026, will replace the embattled Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools in Irma.
The State of Wisconsin has sought for years to close the Irma facility amid allegations of abuse brought by inmates and staff, investigations into civil rights violations and the use of excessive force and a number of lawsuits that cost the state millions of dollars in legal settlements.
State legislators voted in 2018 to close the youth detention center and replace it with a total of six regional state- and county-run facilities. Governor Tony Evers later signed into law a July 1, 2021 deadline to shutter the facility, but the state ultimately did not meet the deadline after Legislative Republicans rejected plans to fund the state-run facilities.
In April 2022, Evers signed Senate Bill 520, which allocated nearly $42 million to the construction of a facility designated to replace Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake. The bill received bipartisan support in the State Legislature.
Under the legislation, the Irma facility will be repurposed as an adult correctional institution.