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State pays $300K to youth prison inmate in settlement

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $300,000 to an inmate at Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison who waited nearly two hours for a nurse after a guard smashed his toes in a door, according to a settlement agreement.

The state acknowledged no fault in the September settlement agreement, which was released Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

While transferring an uncooperative teenage inmate to a new cell in November 2015, a guard shoved the inmate into the room and slammed the door, catching the teen’s foot against the jamb. Records show it took an hour and 45 minutes for a nurse to arrive at the cell and even longer for him to get transferred to a medical facility.

The incident occurred at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma, about 30 miles north of Wausau. Lincoln Hills and the adjacent Copper Lake School for Girls are under federal investigation into allegations of physical abuse, sexual assault and misconduct.

The incident happened near the end of a 16-hour shift when the guard’s unit was short on staff. The guard was placed on paid leave and then resigned a short time later.

Video of the incident exists, but the department isn’t releasing it because of laws that protect information about juveniles that are incarcerated.

Department of Corrections spokesman Tristan Cook said the state has since altered rules on medical responses, provided better training for staff about using force and added body cameras.

“This is going to keep happening if they don’t make some real changes,” said state Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee. “Nothing is shocking at this point.”


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