Earlier this month, State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and State Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) put out a letter asking a judge to loosen the sanctions he placed on the state’s youth prison complex north of Wausau. Since the letter, even more reports of violence at Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake have come out.
Tiffany said people need to remember what kind of individuals are being housed in facilities like Lincoln Hills. “There’s people that have broken the law, including serious felons, that are in these facilities. Including, in a juvenile youth facility like Lincoln Hills. It’s not an easy atmosphere to work in.”
Tiffany said that the American Civil Liberties Union is totally in the wrong when it comes to Lincoln Hills. “They’re taking the side of young felons who are harming not just staff at Lincoln Hills, but youth offenders that are in there. I think the ACLU has not taken into account what is happening to those people who work there.”
Tiffany believes Governor Scott Walker knows about what’s going on at Lincoln Hills and is working to make it better. “He can see the media accounts of what is going on and he’s taking action. He emphasized that we are putting more money into treatment. There are raises that have been proposed by Secretary Litscher. More money for staff that works there. We’re allocating more positions to help out at Lincoln Hills from the state level.”
Lincoln Hills now has a new interim Superintendent. Current Administrator of the Department of Juvenile Corrections, John Paquin, will serve as the interim superintendent. Secretary of the Department of Corrections, Jon Litscher, made the appointment and announced it via a letter sent to all staff members in the juvenile department. This move comes after Governor Scott Walker told the Department of Corrections for fill the position, which as been vacant since September. The DOC is continuing to work to find a full time replacement superintendent.
Tiffany said because of the lessening of discipline at Lincoln Hills, the inmates feel like they’re in control of the staff members. “That’s as a result of the judge’s order. He needs to reverse it. He needs to allow discipline to be restored at Lincoln Hills with the staff that works there.”
Tiffany said he does commend U.S. District Judge James Peterson for saying he will revisit the order he placed on Lincoln Hills. Seven staff members have come forward saying they’ve been attacked by inmates at Lincoln Hills in the past 2 weeks.