Plans to close youth prison and open more gets mixed reviews - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Plans to close youth prison and open more gets mixed reviews

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MADISON (WKOW) -- It's a decision that's being applauded on both sides of the political aisle. But the closure of Lincoln Hills is getting mixed reviews as some say more youth prisons shouldn't be created. 

It's a prison Caliph Muab-El spent time in decades ago. 

"I think it was an incubator for abuse and neglect of our children and that environment was infested with all kinds of atrocities that children shouldn't suffer or endure," said Muab-El. 

Now, he's the executive director for Breaking Barriers, an organization that helps Madison's youth. He, along with other community leaders applaud part of the governor's plans, but are worried about others, specifically the opening of six smaller juvenile prisons.

"We shouldn't be preparing our youth to move from juvenile to prison. The desire to want to build more prisons, we understand if you build a prison you have to fill it (them)," said Aaron Hicks, with the Focused Interruption Coalition.

But the governor and his attorney general stand by the plan. 

"The idea being that it's easier to contain and scatter them around the state, so they're closer not only to family support systems but also the counties that are ultimately where they've been sentenced from," said Governor Scott Walker. 

"This is a long-term kind of solution. I think (it) has a lot more to do with rehabilitation efforts," said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. 

A plan to tackle a troubled facility, but one that's getting mixed reviews.

The governor says one of the six newer facilities will be exclusively for girls. Three of the six will be in southeastern Wisconsin since it's the region where a majority of the offenders come from, according to Walker.

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