Gov. Walker answers why major change at Lincoln Hills took this long

Published: Jan. 9, 2018 at 5:36 PM CST
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For the first time since announcing his planned changes to Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake Schools last week, Governor Scott Walker answered questions about it in central Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker was in Athens Tuesday talking with students and staff at the high school about rural school initiatives, but in a media interview following his speech, 7 Investigates Emily Davies asked him questions not yet answered by the governor.

Q: "Why did it take so long to have your office do anything with regards to Lincoln Hills and the overcrowding," Davies asked. "I was told by your office that you've been working on it for a little over a year, but you also found out about this six years ago."

A: "Well, the changes have been made by the Department of Corrections consistently over the last several years," answered Gov. Walker. "We take safety and security -- so what was announced this past week wasn't the first step; it's one of many steps."

Q: "Wisconsin doesn't allow for private prisons, but I know that back in the 90s you were a proponent for that. Is that a possibility? I know that's something employees there are worried about," Davies stated.

A: "No, I don't see any interest in that," Gov. Walker said going onto explain that current employees will be offered jobs at the new facilities. "To me that seems like rabble rousing by a few of the detractors. In the end, our focus is on public employees operating all of these facilities."

Gov. Walker said he will provide more details about his plan for Lincoln Hills in his State of the State speech later in January.