In an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today, Wisconsin Senator Van Wanggaard complains that the length of the Lincoln Hills (youth prison) investigation is hampering the legislature’s response to the issues there.

Well that’s total baloney. The problems and issues at Lincoln have been clearly and pretty thoroughly discussed and documented in any number of newspaper exposes included an extended one by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel itself. As a matter of fact one change has already occurred…after exposing injuries to youth inmates due to errors with administering drugs, nurses now dispense medications instead of guards.

But there is an ongoing investigation…Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel started the process two years ago but handed it off to the FBI about a year ago. But Senator Wanggaard is complaining it is taking too long. And I agree. I have been wondering myself when there would finally be a report on the issues there.

But then it goes a little far afield. Senator Wanggaard says:

A GOP state senator is urging the FBI to tell him when a long-running investigation will be finished, arguing legislators need to know more before they can decide whether to make changes at Wisconsin’s juvenile prison.

Look…we know what the problems are…it’s been documented in the media…what the FBI is going to tell is if there are any criminal charges to be brought as a result of the activities there. And the governor and legislature are certainly culpable if there are. I wrote about what I thought should happen to the governor a while ago.

Now the FBI says they won’t comment about an ongoing investigation but there is no reason that the legislature can’t investigate on their own, hold hearings, or make changes. You know, just sayin’. And I agree with them. But not the good senator:

But Wanggaard said he is reluctant to hold hearings on the issue because he does not want to interfere with the criminal investigation.

The FBI already said, no problem, go for it!

“I could introduce legislation if I knew what to introduce. I don’t know what to fix,” Wanggaard said.

You are a former police officer and current chair of a committee and public safety and you don’t know what to fix? Are you lazy or incompetent? Get out of Madison and visit Lincoln Hills. Take the rest of the public safety committee with you…and their peers for the legislature. Ask some questions…of guards, wardens, inmates, families…read the damn articles in the Madison and Milwaukee media. Read the data points in the law suits brought against the state by the ACLU. And then figure out how to fix it! That’s your job!!

One hint…the place is understaffed…guards are working inordinate numbers of overtime…get the budget to train and hire more personnel…and yeah, I know, there might not be enough staff available in Wausau…help relocate some unemployed Wisconsinites from other parts of the state. Apparently they are out there.

One senator gets it: Senator LaTonya Johnson from Milwaukee:

Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) said lawmakers should act now because they’re already aware of suicide attempts and attacks on inmates and guards.

“I don’t think we need to wait for permission from the FBI before taking action to implement reforms and ensure the safety of children and staff at Lincoln Hills and other facilities across our state,” Johnson said in a written statement.

“The lack of care or urgency from Gov. (Scott) Walker and Wisconsin Republicans is alarming to say the least. We cannot wait to take action any longer while the safety and security of youth, staff, and other individuals in facilities like Lincoln Hills continue to be jeopardized.”

Sen. Johnson says the lack of urgency on the part of the Wisconsin Republicans is alarming. May I suggest that it is criminal??

2 Responses to Senator Van Wanggaard Refuses To Do His Job

  1. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Talk about someone who deserves to be redistricted into competition. No one’s Senate district is more absurdly gerrymandered than Wangaard (they literally drew his house as one of the edges of his district, then put the rest out into rural and red Racine/Kenosha County), and that goof is one of the last people entitled to a seat in the people’s House.

    Good callout Ed.

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