Without inmates from Milwaukee County, youth prison under federal investigation could close

MADISON — Milwaukee County's plan to pull its inmates from Wisconsin's only secure youth prison is putting the future of the Lincoln Hills School in limbo.

The county's move to bring its 134 young inmates closer to home comes amid a federal investigation into allegations of abuse at the school.

It could mean Lincoln Hills losing more than half its population and half its operating budget, which comes largely from county dollars. And that could spur significant cuts or possible closure of the troubled facility, leaving uncertainty about where the remaining 50 to 100 youth would be housed.

But some people view the declining Lincoln Hills population as an opportunity to rethink the state's juvenile corrections system.