Juvenile prison workers assaulted
MADISON, Wis. — Three Wisconsin juvenile prison workers were hurt in two separate attacks by inmates last the weekend, the latest in a string of incidents that come as the state struggles to implement a federal court order requiring it to drastically reduce the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray and shackles on its juvenile inmates.
The state Corrections Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the attacks that happened Saturday at the Lincoln Hills prison. One employee was hurt in an assault Saturday morning and two others were injured in separate assaults the same afternoon, Corrections Department spokesman Tristan Cook said Tuesday.
All three workers sought medical attention and were released, Cook said.
“Violent and disrespectful behaviour by youth is not acceptable and we are actively working with law enforcement to charge and prosecute the youth responsible,” Cook said. Additional steps have also been taken to safeguard staff, he said.
The attacks come as the Corrections Department works to comply with a July federal court order stemming from a classaction lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center filed on behalf of inmates. The Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons, which share a campus in Irma about 30 km north of Wausau, also remain under a nearly three-year-old federal investigation.
The Corrections Department is working on a program targeting the most disruptive inmates, which may involve moving them from the juvenile prisons, attorney Sam Hall told the court.