State to close Lincoln Hills, Copper Lake youth correctional facilities
"The Wisconsin Department of Corrections will close the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake state-run youth correctional facilities in Irma.
The announcement on Jan. 4 followed an injunction secured by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center — with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady — through a class action civil rights lawsuit in federal court centered on the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray, shackling and strip searches of children.
The suit was filed on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls. The ACLU, in a news release, said the facilities had previously been under federal investigation for a range of abuses and violations of constitutional treatment of the youth.
“The closing of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake today is fantastic news,” said Jessica Feierman, associate director of Juvenile Law Center. “This is a huge step forward for Wisconsin. We are relieved that the state is moving away from a model that just doesn’t work — large youth prisons that violate the Constitution and are dangerous to youth. The task now is to ensure that youth are placed at home or in the most family-like settings possible, and provided with the positive supports and services they deserve.”"