Lawmakers consider harsher state youth prison proposals

A Wisconsin state Senate committee is considering a package of anti-crime bills, including three that would impose harsher punishments on youth who commit crimes.

The proposals up for a hearing Wednesday could land more children in Wisconsin’s youth prison for a wider range of crimes and keep them there longer, despite an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of widespread abuse at the facility. The Milwaukee Police Association supports the measures while the National Association of Social Workers, the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters oppose them.

Republican sponsors have said their proposals are an effort to reduce violent crime and protect the public from violent repeat offenders. Other measures would increase penalties for carjacking or possessing a firearm while on probation.