New superintendent at Wisconsin youth prison hired

AP

Print Article

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin's troubled youth prison that Gov. Scott Walker wants to convert to an adult facility has a new superintendent, its fourth leader in just over two years.

The state Department of Corrections announced Thursday that 24-year agency veteran Jason Benzel was hired to run the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons for boys and girls in Irma, about 30 miles north of Wausau. He will begin Jan. 22.

The post had been vacant since the previous superintendent, Wendy Peterson, resigned in August to take a lower-paying job as education director. Benzel will be paid $101,000 a year, the same as Peterson when she was superintendent.

The prison is the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging inmate abuse and a federal investigation has been ongoing for three years. Walker announced earlier this month that he wants to move juveniles out of it in 2019, but he would be open to moving faster. Walker's plan calls for creating smaller, regional juvenile prisons.

Democrats have been critical of Walker moving so slowly to enact changes at the embattled prison, saying he's only proposing something now as a political move in advance of the November election.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday the wants long-term solutions for Lincoln Hills, but he's in no rush to move juveniles out of it because judges could send them to county facilities instead.

"I would like to do it in a way that allows us to get the right answer as quickly as we can but I don't want to rush to judgment until we've had time to really study it and understand all the possibilities," he said.

Benzel began his career as a guard and has held a number of positions within the adult prison system, most recently deputy warden at the Prairie du Chien adult prison. He's also worked as a juvenile review and release specialist.

"I have full confidence in Jason in his new role ... and look forward to working closely with him as we continue to make further enhancements and begin work to transition towards a regional juvenile correctional model," Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher said in a prepared statement.

___

Associated Press writer Todd Richmond contributed to this story.

Print Article

Read More Wisconsin News

Jury: Ex-Sheriff Clarke did not violate man's free speech

AP

January 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | MILWAUKEE (AP) Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke did not violate a man's free speech with taunting Facebook posts after detaining him at an airport last year for shaking his head at Clar...

Comments

Read More

Slumping Milwaukee Bucks fire coach Jason Kidd

AP

January 22, 2018 at 11:24 pm | MILWAUKEE (AP) Seeking change amid midseason struggles, the Milwaukee Bucks fired coach Jason Kidd on Monday after a slide that left a team with designs on challenging the NBA's best in eighth plac...

Comments

Read More

Monday's Scores

AP

January 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | BOYS BASKETBALL Fennimore 83, Lancaster 74 Ironwood, Mich. 53, Solon Springs 46 Janesville Craig 74, Verona Area 56 Kickapoo 57, North Crawford 28 Lomira 57, Berlin 54 Markesan ...

Comments

Read More

Bucks beat Suns 109-105 hours after firing Jason Kidd

AP

January 22, 2018 at 11:02 pm | MILWAUKEE (AP) Khris Middleton spent three-plus years under Jason Kidd's tutelage, blossoming into a dangerous scorer with the Milwaukee Bucks. He showed off what he learned in the Bucks' first...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X