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Head of Wisconsin's Troubled Youth Prison Steps Down, Remains With Facility

Lincoln Hills School for Boys & Copper Lake School for Girls

Wendy Peterson has served as superintendent of Lincoln Hills & Copper Lake Schools since April of last year. Next week, she'll begin working as the facility's education director.

Peterson asked officials at the state Department of Corrections for the transfer. She said serving as superintendent at the youth prison near Irma, WI was keeping her from her family.

The facility's deputy superintendent will take over for Peterson, while a search is underway for a permanent replacement.

Peterson's predecessor was Wayne Olson, who held the job for four months.

The youth prison has come under fire over the past couple of years, as allegations of inmate abuse have become public. Investigations are underway. In addition, federal lawsuits have been filed by inmates who say they were abused or mistreated at the facility.

Youth Justice Milwaukee says it hopes Peterson's departure is "just the beginning of the end for Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake." The organization says changes at the facility are "not enough to truly end the harm caused by locking up young people."

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