State Senate passes prison guard abuse reporting bill

State Senate passes prison guard abuse reporting bill

The state Senate has passed a bill that would force guards at Wisconsin’s troubled Lincoln Hills youth prison to report child abuse.

The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday. Bill sponsor Democratic Sen. LaTonya Johnson calls the proposal a first step to fix what she calls a “broken juvenile justice system.” It’s the first action the Legislature has taken to address problems at the state’s juvenile prisons.

The FBI is investigating allegations of widespread abuse of juveniles at the prison near Irma. Inmates have filed two federal lawsuits challenging conditions at the prison and demanding improvements.

The bill would make juvenile prison guards mandatory child abuse reporters, a move that would protect them from being fired for reporting incidents.

Workers in nearly 30 professions are mandatory reporters under Wisconsin law.