Wisconsin Corrections Secretary Resigns As Reports Surface of Trouble at Lincoln Hills in 2012
Gov. Walker announced Friday that his Corrections Secretary Edward Wall resigned on February 5, as the public learns of possible criminal activity at Lincoln Hills School for Boys four years ago.
In a press release, Walker thanked Secretary Wall "for his years of dedicated service to the Department of Corrections and the State of Wisconsin" and wished him "all the best as he continues his service in law enforcement."
Wall wrote in his resignation letter:
"The work of corrections often draws emotion and conjecture from many due to the nature of the responsibilities the Department is tasked with. However, regardless of where those feelings may fall, staff at the Department of Corrections deserves the support, gratitude and respect of the administration, the legislature and the citizens of Wisconsin. After considerable thought, reflection and consultation with my family, I believe that the time has come to turn the page for the Department of Corrections and step aside to allow a new person with fresh perspectives to lead the agency forward."
In recent months, federal and state authorities have launched a massive investigation at the detention facility, amid reports that children there have been assaulted, abused and neglected. Now a former judge acknowledges sending Walker a letter in 2012 warning of possible mistreatment of youth there.
The governor's office says Walker never saw the letter, but that staff forwarded it to the corrections agency.
In a release, Milwaukee Democratic Assemblyman Mandela Barnes said that Governor Walker had known about the allegations at Lincoln Hills for four years. "His blatant disregard of concerns at the facility actively put our youth and staff in harm’s way," he added. "Governor Walker is clearly trying to pass the buck with his top aide’s resignation, and his scapegoating does nothing to change the fact that he and his staff ignored dire red flags at Lincoln Hills for more than four years."
In the wake of Wall's resignation, the governor has named Jon Litscher as successor. He served as Wisconsin's corrections secretary during the administration of former Gov. Tommy Thompson.