UPDATE: Assembly committee approves juvenile offender bills - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Assembly committee approves juvenile offender bills

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- Republican state lawmakers want to come down harder on kids in the criminal justice system.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Corrections Committee approved two bills that could send more kids to Wisconsin's troubled Lincoln Hills Youth Prison for longer sentences. Currently judges can sentence children 14 and older to the prison for up to three years for certain crimes.

One bill would expand the list of crimes to include all felonies. The other would eliminate the three-year limit.

"My sympathy meter is broke -- 15 shootings in the city of Milwaukee this weekend. C'mon, can we get some control? And the only way we're going to get some control Mr. Chair is to get some of these dirt balls off the street," said Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) during the committee hearing.

The committee passed both bills, setting up votes in the Assembly.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Tuesday a Wisconsin Assembly committee is set to vote on two bills related to juvenile offenders and their time behind bars.

The first bill would lift the current cap of three years detention for youth offenders. A second bill would expand the list of crimes that could lead to time in a youth prison.

The Assembly Committee on Corrections had a heated and dramatic debate on the bills two weeks ago. Some lawmakers are not only worried about longer sentences, but where juveniles have to serve them. The only option for boys is Lincoln Hills in northern Wisconsin, which is the subject of an FBI investigation.

The facility also has lawsuits filed against it by former inmates because of alleged abuse.

Related stories:

"Victim prevention" bills spark heated debate in Assembly committee

Wisconsin's youth prison hit with another lawsuit

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