Federal judge orders changes at Wisconsin juvenile prisons

Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 18:37:09-04

A federal judge has ruled Wisconsin's use of solitary confinement in its juvenile prisons poses "acute, immediate and enduring" harm to young inmates and is ordering that it be dramatically scaled back.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday also ordered that shackling juvenile inmates and the use of pepper spray be used much more sparingly than now.

Peterson ordered the state Department of Corrections and attorneys for inmates who challenged the disciplinary tactics to report back in two weeks on how they will structure changes he ordered be made.

He did not immediately order that the practices stop as those challenging them as unconstitutional had wanted.

But Peterson says Wisconsin's practices at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons are out of step with national norms.