Former Lincoln Hills inmate says pepper spray abuse was common - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former Lincoln Hills inmate says pepper spray abuse was common

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MADISON (WKOW) -- According to unsealed court documents uncovered by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Wednesday, a Lincoln County Judge found reason to believe a number of crimes have been committed against inmates at a state juvenile correctional facility in Irma, located north of Merrill.

That alleged abuse at Lincoln Hills School ranges from physical and sexual assault, to child neglect, strangulation and even suffocation caused by the use of pepper spray.

Nathan Bowey, who spent part of his youth at Lincoln Hills School in the late 1990s, told 27 News he reached out to the Department of Corrections in 2014 to complain about the mass use of pepper spray when he was at the facility - and how it affected the health of inmates that weren't even the target of the spray.

Bowey, who now lives in Portland, Oregon, said he felt the need to call 27 News when he heard about the current Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation into the facility.

"What was happening is, we were getting gassed dang near every single day and we were in a concrete barracks with poor ventilation, which you can expect in a prison," said Bowey.

The unsealed records obtained by the Journal-Sentinel also showed Lincoln County Judge Robert Russell said authorities were also looking into possible tampering with public records and misconduct in public office.

A spokesperson from the Department of Corrections has yet to respond to 27 News' questions about the allegations.

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