Juvenile justice reform advocates are speaking out against a budget item approved last-minute by the budget committee.
The provision would allow counties to detain juvenile offenders for up to a year - double the length of stay currently allowed.
This budget item picks up where a similar measure in the last budget left off. In 2011, a last-minute budget provision changed the local juvenile detention limit from 30 days to six months. Now that's been doubled, allowing judges to lock teens up for up to a year.
Jim Moeser of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families  says it was a direct response to the closing of the state's Ethan Allen detention center.
"It was like, 'We're closing Ethan Allen but we'll allow you to put kids in a local facility for 180 days.' Milwaukee in particular was interested because their facility is set up in units and they could set up a unit for these kinds of kids. That's how it got in last time. Not discussed, not debated."
There was no debate or discussion this year either. Counties want their detention centers because they see them as a cheaper alternative to state facilities. Moeser says before allowing counties to set up their own detention centers, the state should establish standards for the kinds of programming they provide and the criteria for kids who are detained there.
"If you're really talking about a successful program it's going to have certain characteristics - what are those? Let's make sure these programs have those before you just jump to 365."
Moeser says he and other reform advocates will be talking to Governor Scott Walker about setting those standards at a conference next week and urging him to fund an evaluation of the county programs that exist now before allowing them to hold kids longer.