Dodge County Board Exec Committee Discusses Juvenile Offender Housing Plan

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee on Monday discussed housing possibilities for juvenile offenders. The Wisconsin legislature is considering a plan that would close the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in Irma by 2021. Regional teen lockups would instead be used with some run by the state Department of Corrections while counties would be responsible for others. Dodge County Corporation Council Kimberly Nass says Dodge County does not currently have a facility for youth offenders or the capacity at this point to develop one. She says instead the plan would have the Human Services Department contract with a regional center. She says preliminary plans include establishing housing centers to service different regions throughout the state while Milwaukee County will have their own facility. There are currently no juveniles from Dodge County that are housed at either Lincoln Hills or Copper Lake. Human Services Department Director Rebecca Bell says it would not be wise for the county to pursue building or renovating an existing facility to house juvenile offenders. She says Dodge County has not had a history of using the correctional centers. Bell added that developing a housing center would be a risk the county has no business taking and a big liability. Bell says it is too early to estimate what the costs would to the county if a juvenile offender would be housed at a regional facility. She says right now it costs $397 dollars a day at Lincoln Hills, which comes to $144-thousand a year. If the bill to close both corrections facilities is passed by the Senate, Governor Scott Walker has indicated that he would sign it.