Lincoln Hills School: Civil rights investigation possible at youth prison

MADISON — Federal officials looking into abuse allegations at Wisconsin's youth prison are trying to determine if criminal charges are warranted and also whether another investigation into civil rights violations is in order.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil says that in addition to the criminal investigation headed by the FBI, federal agents are also looking into the possibility of a pattern of civil rights violations at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in northern Wisconsin.

Vaudreuil says that after the evidence is reviewed, he and the FBI will forward the findings to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. She heads the federal Department of Justice's civil rights division and will decide whether to open a civil investigation.

If that happens, the state could face a lawsuit or consent decree ordering it to make changes.