Update: New Lincoln Hills Leader Named

Oct 26, 2017

Gov. Walker in Rhinelander Wednesday.
Credit WXPR

Update from Wheeler News-Learfield Data:

The state's juvenile corrections administrator will serve as the interim superintendent at the embattled Lincoln Hills facility. John Paquin was named by Corrections' Secretary Jon Litscher to replace Wendy Peterson, who voluntarily took a demotion and a lower paying job at the boys' and girls' juvenile institutions in Lincoln County. Also, a teacher at Lincoln Hills who was attacked by an inmate October 11th has requested a meeting with Governor Scott Walker to talk about safety concerns at the site. But Walker spokesman Tom Evenson tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that a lawyer urged him not to call Pandora Lobacz because she hired an attorney and the matter "appears to be moving toward litigation." Also, Lincoln County deputies are probing an August incident in which four inmates jumped onto the roof of a prison dorm, threw rocks and shingles at guards, and swung large metal pipes.

Governor Walker says his action to place an interim leader at the troubled Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake juvenile corrections facility in Lincoln county to stabilize operations.

Walker spoke to reporters Wednesday after announcing the Division of Forestry was moving to Rhinelander.

Walker says he ordered Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher to name a leader while a nationwide search is going on to fill the position...

"....I think it's important in terms of staffing to have someone in as an interim. Not just acting, but to have another body up there in a leadership position. We instructed the Secretary of the Department of Corrections to do that...."

Two recent incidents found workers at the facility injured by juveniles. Walker says the public often forget that the juveniles in the facilities are convicted of felonies that if they were adults, would have meant hard prison time...

"...we want to make sure that not only do we have a full-time interim superintendent there, but Secretary Litscher was there last week, gave me an update on some of the things he thinks need to be done going forward. A number of changes were done in the budget. We've made staffing changes, we've increased pay to help with recruitment and retention. We've put body cams up on the agenda. We want to make sure the people there are safe...."

Walker indicated he would not be visiting the facility. Another incident reported recently found inmates this summer reaching the roof of the facility and throwing objects at workers below.