State lawmakers offer differing views of youth prison

State lawmakers offer differing views of youth prison

A Democratic lawmaker says meeting with inmates at the Wisconsin’s youth prison left him with serious concerns about conditions there despite recent efforts to improve them.

The Legislature’s Assembly Corrections Committee met Thursday to discuss five of its members’ tour of the Lincoln Hills youth prison in Irma earlier this week.

Democratic Rep. David Bowen, of Milwaukee, says one teen told him he doesn’t feel comfortable reporting sexual abuse because he fears retaliation. Bowen also says staff told him they are regularly forced to work extra shifts, making it harder for them to do their jobs effectively.

But Republican Committee Chair Michael Schraa, of Oshkosh, says he was pleasantly surprised by the environment there.

Conditions at the facility are being investigated by the federal government after allegations of widespread abuse.