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Common Council approves youth correctional facility on Milwaukee's north side

The facility at 7030 W. Clinton Ave. will replace the state's existing youth prison, Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, located outside Irma.
milwaukee youth prison
Posted at 3:08 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 16:18:53-05

MILWAUKEE — Plans to build a new juvenile detention facility are moving forward after the Milwaukee Common Council voted in favor Tuesday of rezoning the construction of the facility.

The facility at 7030 W. Clinton Ave. will replace the state's existing youth prison, Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, located outside Irma.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson's signature is the last action needed for the youth prison. Last week, the Milwaukee Common Council's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee voted 5-0, approving the rezoning. The proposal then headed to the full Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday. Tuesday's vote approves rezoning the property from industrial light to detailed planned development, which will now allow construction.

RELATED: Committee OKs youth correctional facility on Milwaukee's north side

State and federal investigations several years ago at Lincoln Hills resulted in a report detailing use-of-force violations at the juvenile prison.

ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE: Former Lincoln Hills inmate details abuse allegations

As previously reported, an investigation found three inmates were mistreated by corrections officers, which violated their civil rights. The victims were paid $5 million in a settlement. In 2018, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ordered Lincoln Hills to be closed and replaced with smaller, regional juvenile detention centers, including Milwaukee County, so inmates could be close to home.

ALTERNATIVE NEEDED?: Man formerly incarcerated at Lincoln Hills shares the need for a juvenile facility in the Milwaukee area

However, plans for a new Milwaukee County facility were halted after funds for the proposed project were cut in 2020. It was revised last year when the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center was proposed as a site.

According to our partners at Milwaukee NNS, officials advocated against tearing down and replacing Felmers Chaney with a youth facility and instead supported using the Clinton Avenue site, an old emissions testing center located on the city's north side.

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