State Senate Democrats are calling for a public hearing on safety at Wisconsin’s correctional facilities.
The request comes in response to extensive abuse allegations against juvenile offenders housed at the Lincoln Hills Correctional Facility, which are currently being investigated by the state. State Senators Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) argued Wednesday lawmakers have a moral responsibility to investigate the matter as well, in order to ensure Wisconsin’s prisons are safe, and called for Senate Judiciary and Public Safety to convene a public hearing on the issue.
Republican state Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), who chairs the committee, agreed there are concerns about the allegations surrounding Lincoln Hills, but said now is not the time for a hearing. The Racine Republican noted the investigation is ongoing and he worries a hearing could disrupt the probe.
“We are aware of a John Doe investigation, and internal investigations at the Department of Corrections and Department of Justice. I do not wish to hold a public hearing that could jeopardize those, or other, investigations,” Wanggaard said. “As the investigations move forward, I will to continue to follow the matter closely. I encourage other members of the Legislature to do so as well.”