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Larson Hits Abele On Response To Lincoln Hills Debacle

Both Milwaukee County Exec Candidates Have Called For Bringing Young Prisoners Closer To City

Wisconsin Public Television / Wisconsin National Guard (CC-BY-NC-ND)

In the race for Milwaukee County executive both candidates say they have plans for moving Milwaukee youth held at the troubled Lincoln Hills juvenile detention facility into housing closer to home. The challenger says it can be done sooner rather than later.

Incumbent County Executive Chris Abele said he’s worried about the safety of the teens at the school in northern Wisconsin as an investigation into child abuse at the school continues. He wants to send county social workers to the school to monitor the programming now and pursue alternative housing for the future. But challenger state Sen. Chris Larson said county officials could have acted sooner by using a state law that allows the county to hold young offenders closer to their homes for as long as a year.

“And until this crisis came to light that had not been discussed,” Larson said. “That had not been moved forward; it had not been a priority for this administration.”

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But according to Abele, there is only limited space available to move the 160 Milwaukee youth out of Lincoln Hills in northern Wisconsin back to the county.

Both candidates agree that in the long term, the best solution is to adopt a model for juvenile detention used in Missouri by building smaller schools closer to the homes of young offenders. Larson has co-sponsored a bill that would accomplish that by restructuring the current centralized state system of housing all young offenders at a single institution.

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