Wisconsin juvenile prisons struggle to change their course

Wisconsin juvenile prisons struggle to change  their course

Wisconsin’s youth prisons are finding it difficult to move away from using pepper spray, solitary confinement and shackles even though those practices are out of step with similar prisons around the U.S.

Violence has erupted repeatedly since July, when a federal judge ordered a dramatic reduction in disciplinary tactics at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake.

Staff members say inmates have been emboldened by the order. Prison teacher Pandora Lobacz was knocked out by an inmate who punched her in the face this month. She says she’s terrified.

But Jeffrey Butts, who has researched youth justice for nearly three decades, says the problems come from poor management. Butts says the methods aren’t necessary, they don’t work and they just lead to more violence.

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