More cases released, drugs found at Lincoln Hills 16 times since 2016

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IRMA, Wis. (WSAW) -- More documents released by the Department of Corrections Friday adds seven more drug incidents at the state's youth prison to the nine 7 Investigates revealed Thursday.

In May, 7 Investigates requested all of the drug incident reports between January 2016 and when the request was made.

In the additional reports obtained Friday the cases all involved prescription medication. The incidents occurred in July, August, October, and November of 2017, and February, March, and April of this year. The incident in October is the only drug incident reported at Copper Lake since 2016.

The other nine released Thursday involved prescription pills along with details of a marijuana trafficking ring, which according to reports and the DOC appears to have been solved.

In several of the pill related incidents, juveniles said they traded or sold their prescriptions so they would have money for canteen, which is the prison's store. In some cases, youth said they needed that money because other juveniles would put them "on rent," forcing them to give them their canteen items or they would face consequences.

One report indicated nurses began to crush pills for juveniles found trading them.
July 5, 2018

Drugs have been found at Lincoln Hills School nine times in the last two and a half years. Just this spring, inmates were caught trafficking marijuana into the prison.

Reports showed the juveniles were not shy about their drug use once staff was on to them; They would talk about how high they were and told staff "they should have looked harder" for the drugs.

May 9, 7 Investigates requested all drug-related incidents at the youth prison beginning January 1, 2016 through the date the request was made. Specific quantities were not always reported.

July 28, 2017, a youth counselor discovered a foot-long and a 5 inch metal pipe along with prescription pills in one youth's room.

Nov. 1, 2017 more pain killers were found. A few days later, a youth counselor discovered a broken glass pipe outside one of the halls that had heat resin that tested positive for amphetamines.

March 7, 2018, a youth counselor found prescription antidepressant pills in a juvenile's room. This is the month that marijuana seemed to start coming into the prison.

In May, 7 Investigates first reported about two separate incident involving marijuana happening on March 11. In both incidents, youth counselors could smell marijuana, but none was reportedly found. Juveniles also talked about how high they were in both cases.

In one of the two cases, youth became upset when counselors tried to investigate marijuana use and began throwing furniture and other objects at the counselors, ultimately breaking the security booth's door and glass window.

March 16, a youth swallowed what youth counselors suspected was marijuana and several other juveniles showed signs of marijuana use.

March 29, a juvenile informant told staff another youth kept marijuana in a deodorant stick. Flecks of what looked like marijuana were found, but tested negative for the drug.

Then, April 12, K9 units from Marathon County Sheriff's Office and Tomahawk Police Department were asked to assist. The dogs hit on several rooms and marijuana was found hidden inside highlighters, along with matches and a striker inside a pen. Six of the juveniles tested for marijuana came back negative, but another four came back positive.

According to that April incident, staff believe they found the juvenile who essentially was the dealer for the rest of the school. He admitted to ingesting about a half gram of marijuana and said he was "the main person...who had the weed."

The investigation also found that marijuana was coming in through the visiting room. The Department of Corrections told 7 Investigates last month the visitors they believe were involved are not allowed to visit for the next year.

As for the prescription pills, youth informants would tell counselors some juveniles would "cheek" them or pretend to take the pills they get on medical rounds and save them to sell to other youth later. One report said nurses have started to crush pills for youth who were caught doing that.