The Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons (LH/CL) in Irma, WI have been illegally confining children since July 1, 2021. More than seventy percent of the kids are Black, and nearly half are from Milwaukee county. Starting in 2010, kids in these prisons successfully exposed horrific abuse practices by staff. By 2017, the kids and their advocates had drawn investigations from the media, the state, and federal agencies. They built so much momentum that the legislature passed and the governor signed Wisconsin act 185, which required that both prisons close by January 1, 2021.
Unfortunately, when that date approached, rather than closing the prisons, politicians passed a new law pushing closure back to July 1. The second deadline passed this summer, and the prisons were not closed. No new law extended the deadline. The state just continued operating illegally.
Which sends a pretty clear statement: Wisconsin politicians are willing to ignore and violate state law when it comes to abusing Black kids from Milwaukee.
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Since coming into office, Governor Tony Evers has struggled to reconcile his personal belief in bipartisanship with the highly partisan election that actually put him in office. He defeated the polarizing incumbent Scott Walker by a very slim margin of only 29,227 votes. That victory did not come from Tony Evers winning over republicans with his folksy moderate message. The good ole boys in the grand ole party stood by their man in 2018.
Some pundits have talked about Walker’s base weakening, and the difficulty of running for a third term, but the actual vote count shows that Walker got all the support anyone could ask for. There were 2.7 million voters in 2018, that’s the most ever in a Wisconsin midterm election. Nearly half of those voters went republican. Evers won because his turnout was even higher. According to analysts, his support among “young energetic” voters was key. That energy was fueled by hatred of Scott Walker and Donald Trump, not love of milquetoast Tony.