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Politics & Government

Massive Investigation Continues at Wisconsin Prison for Juveniles

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Department of Corrections
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Lincoln Hills School for Boys is located in Irma, Wisconsin.

The list of potential crimes being alleged at Lincoln Hills School for Boys is disturbing according to Jason Stein,  one of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters monitoring developments.

"They include second-degree sexual assault, physical child abuse, intimidation of witnesses, misconduct in office and a number of others," says Stein.

In October, a Lincoln County judge approved a John Doe investigation, believing there was a decent chance at least some allegations were credible. Back in January, the state Dept. of Corrections had asked the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice to examine complaints at the facility. Stein says the probe ramped up substantially a few days ago, after a juvenile was reportedly injured by a staff member.  

"On Saturday, roughly 50 attorneys and investigators from the  DOJ and potentially other agencies arrived at the facility and began to do interviews with a large number of staff and residents," Stein says.

Stein says the on-site investigation is unlike any he has seen at a state facility, after having covered state government for a decade.

As for the state's response, Stein says two administrators abruptly left their jobs a few days ago, and the DOC secretary has announced steps to safeguard residents and review the prison's use of force against juveniles going back several years. 

"One of the questions that we are asking is, if the corrections agency referred this matter to investigators almost a year ago, why have juveniles at the facility continued to suffer harm," Stein says.

Lincoln Hills School for Boys is located about a half-hour north of Wausau.