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Walker open to helping pay for Milwaukee County juvenile corrections center (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker said he’s open to having the state help pay for a new juvenile corrections center in Milwaukee County.

Currently, Wisconsin’s two secure juvenile facilities share a campus north of Wausau. Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls have been under criminal investigation for allegations of prisoner abuse and child neglect.

Milwaukee County officials want to keep juvenile offenders closer to home, instead of sending them 200 miles away where it’s difficult for families to visit, according to the Journal Sentinel (

The Republican governor said the county would be responsible for the cost of operating a new facility.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said the governor’s team was open to finding a different model for the juvenile facilities. More meetings are scheduled to take place with top officials in Walker’s administration.

Abele and Walker both said it’s too soon to determine what the cost might be for new corrections center, but they said the details of a plan are being worked on.

“Where we would like to get to is absolutely not sending anyone to Lincoln Hills,” Abele said.

Walker said a partnership to build or retrofit a facility could be the best way to help Milwaukee County.

“That’s something we could do potentially as a one-time thing in terms of the capital budget, of helping them, partnering with them, if that’s something they could do,” Walker said.

Any state funding for a new juvenile center would need support from Republicans who control the Legislature.

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