Lincoln Hills Civil Rights Complaints Closed Without Charges

Investigation Found Insufficient Evidence Staff Members Used Unreasonable Force

Copper Lake School/Lincoln Hills School
Glen Moberg/WPR

A federal investigation into alleged civil rights violations at Wisconsin’s youth prison has ended without charges.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Madison announced Friday the investigation found insufficient evidence staff members at Lincoln Hills School had used unreasonable force against inmates repeatedly.

The statement announcing the decision said prosecutors faced a heavy burden in proving that staff members willfully used more force than necessary.

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The Legislature last year unanimously approved a bill shuttering the troubled prison by 2021 and replacing it with smaller state- and county-run facilities. The state is currently planning to build two new juvenile detention facilities in Milwaukee and Outagamie counties.