Maggie Gau (715) 581-0406
MADISON – Yesterday, while visiting Rhinelander, Governor Scott Walker was asked about Lincoln Hills, the state’s juvenile prison that has been under federal investigation for nearly three years, and claimed that Administration was doing “everything in our power” to ensure staff and juveniles are safe. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Schools and Democratic candidate for Governor, released the following statement in response to the Governor’s comments.
“The chaos at Lincoln Hills is a direct result of the Walker Administration’s mismanagement and refusal to take responsibility for conditions there. For nearly three years, Lincoln Hills has been under federal investigation because kids were being beaten and abused. Instead of fixing the problem and creating a safe environment for both kids and staff, Walker appointed administrators that a federal judge said, ‘don’t have the experience to turn around a facility that is failing like Lincoln Hills.’ The worsening conditions are a direct result of Walker’s failure to lead,” Evers said.
Walker has not yet visited Lincoln Hills since the scandal erupted nearly three years ago – even though he was just 30 minutes away yesterday. “You can’t manage an agency, let alone address the catastrophe that now is Lincoln Hills, without even talking with the kids and staff that so desperately need help,” Evers said. “When a building is burning, does the fire chief watch from afar as it burns down? No — a good chief takes charge, gets in there and puts the fire out. As Governor, that’s what I would do.”
“We must remember that Lincoln Hills is a Department of Correction (DOC) rehabilitative facility to help our most troubled kids. Even DOC acknowledges that the majority of these kids have endured significant physical and sexual trauma prior to committing their crimes. Kids and staff both need an adult in the room, a leader who will step up and do the necessary work. Instead, we have a governor who points fingers, casts blame, and has let this problem fester for years. Enough is enough. I can promise I would do things differently and that starts with taking some responsibility,” Evers said.