Prisons chief tells lawmaker Lincoln Hills youth facility is safe

MADISON — The head of the state prison system is assuring lawmakers that Wisconsin's troubled youth prison is safe.

Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher told the Assembly Corrections Committee during an informational hearing on Tuesday that Lincoln Hills School for Boys, the prison outside Irma, is safe and secure and is focused on educating inmates.

He said many changes have been made at the facility, including training guards to talk inmates out of dangerous situations and minimizing solitary confinement and use of pepper spray and restraints. He added the prison has expanded psychological services for inmates.

He didn't go into details.

The FBI is currently investigating allegations of widespread inmate abuse at the prison. A number of current and former inmates have filed two federal lawsuits over conditions at the facility.