State lawmakers tour Lincoln Hills, meet separately with employe - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

State lawmakers tour Lincoln Hills, meet separately with employees

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IRMA, Wis. (WAOW) -

State Democratic Representatives David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) took a tour of the Lincoln Hills Youth Prison Monday. 

Following the tour, they met with a group of current and former employees. 

"I think it was important for us to have conversations - frank conversations," said Rep. Bowen. "About what really is the experience of our employees, of our workers, the experiences of our young people."

Retired youth counselor Doug Curtis said this is the first time he's been able to speak with lawmakers in-depth since tensions over staff assaults have risen.

"Anytime we have a chance to speak with government leaders, we'll take that opportunity," he said. 

Representative Bowen said the insight he obtained made him even more concerned about the state of the already embattled youth prison.

"It's hard when things are not adding up," he said. "When people don't feel safe, I have a really big concern with that."

He told Newsline 9 it's clear more staff members are needed.

Curtis was thankful for that, but said it's a move that does not come without a price.

"If we can't get Madison to come up with the money," Curtis said. "Nothing is going to change."

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