Time to consider closing Lincoln Hills as part of juvenile corrections overhaul

Juvenile prison on lockdown as guards search for contraband

The director of Milwaukee County’s Health and Human Services Administration says the state’s juvenile justice system should be overhauled and the overhaul should include closure of the Lincoln Hills juvenile prison.

We agree.

The evidence is overwhelming. The proposal comes during a week when the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report finding that youth prisons nationally are not safe.

But Lincoln Hills, which is too big, too far from Milwaukee, and inadequately staffed and administered, was a bad idea when it was chosen to house all young male offenders when the Ethen Allen School in Waukesha was closed in 2011.

The recent crisis of alleged abuse and misconduct allegations require investigation and response. But systemic reform, and there are good alternatives being discussed, should include closing Lincoln Hills. What has apparently been going on there is cruel and inhuman.