Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 953 into law Friday at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The bill, which received unanimous support in both the Assembly and Senate, includes measures to create new juvenile correctional facilities across the state, expands the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center which provides mental and behavioral health services, and it repurposes the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile detention facilities in Lincoln County into an adult facility.
“We are committed to improving long-term outcomes for juveniles and staff in our correctional facilities,” said Governor Walker. “We thank county officials, members of the judiciary, and lawmakers from both parties for their efforts on this bill.”
Assembly Bill 953 requires the Department of Corrections to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake School by Jan. 1, 2021. The facilities must be converted to adult correctional facilities. Counties are allowed to establish secured residential care centers for youth offenders, with the state providing bonding for certain construction costs. The state will be required to establish a new Type 1 juvenile correctional facility for certain serious offenders and to expand services and the number of beds at the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center.
A council will be established to study juvenile corrections issues in Wisconsin.
This piece of legislation was designed by a bipartisan group of legislators, the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred in the Senate on a voice vote. It is Act 185.