The Wisconsin Justice Initiative on Friday asked Attorney General Josh Kaul to conduct a review of the Department of Justice's investigation into the abuses inflicted on youths held at the Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake juvenile prisons.
"There are serious questions about the thoroughness of that investigation and whether DOJ ever intended to identify and prosecute abusers and those who authorized the excesses that occurred at the facilities," WJI Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt wrote to Kaul. "Will the state allow those people to continue in their careers as if nothing happened?"
WJI also recommended that Kaul seek outside assistance for the review.
"Unfortunately, through no fault of your own, DOJ's credibility is totally compromised when it comes to Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake," she wrote.
Read the full letter here.
Youths at the facilities were pepper-sprayed, chained to tables, and held for long stretches in solitary confinement. The state settled a class-action ACLU lawsuit by agreeing to end many of the practices, and is moving, very slowly, to close the facilities.
Former Attorney General Brad Schimel, now a Waukesha County circuit judge, said his agency was investigating potential wrongdoing by staff, but did very little to try to stop it. Schimel said the FBI took over the investigation, and it is unclear what, if anything, federal investigators did to further the probe.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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