State

A teen is shackled to a table at Lincoln Hills School for Boys. He and others like him have less than 8 inches to maneuver as they try to do school work.(Photo: ACLU, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - A federal judge signaled Thursday he was likely to force major changes at Wisconsin's juvenile prison, saying it appears the state excessively uses solitary confinement, pepper spray and handcuffs on teen inmates.

"I think it’s very clear Lincoln Hills is a very troubled institution and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone," U.S. District Judge James Peterson said at the end of a daylong hearing. 

"I think the problem is the general perspective of the institution has been essentially to run it like an adult prison and I think there really has been an extensive lack of programming and an extensive lack of mental health care provided to the residents."

Peterson said he expects to issue a ruling from the bench Friday after hearing closing arguments about Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus north of Wausau.

A teen is shackled to a table at Lincoln Hills School for Boys. He and others like him have less than 8 inches to maneuver as they try to do school work.(Photo: ACLU, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - A federal judge said Thursday he saw a "serious problem" with the use of pepper spray at Wisconsin's juvenile prison complex, but expressed skepticism at the notion that the state had treated teen inmates with deliberate indifference. 

The comments from U.S. District Judge James Peterson signaled the state could be forced to make changes at how it operates Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus 30 miles north of Wausau.

The complex has been under criminal investigation for 2½ years for prisoner abuse and child neglect.

The lawsuit, brought by teen inmates with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and the Juvenile Law Center, is seeking to curb the use of pepper spray, solitary confinement and handcuffs and other restraints.

Monona Golf Course(Photo: City of Madison)

Four longtime former golf pros at Madison's public courses can sue the city over how they lost their jobs, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

"They were robbed of their businesses unfairly, of their opportunity to make money," said the pros' attorney, Cathleen Dettman, and now they'll seek damages that could reach into the millions of dollars.

The 5-2 decision reversed a Court of Appeals ruling and found that the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law, which governs certain business relationships, applied to the city. It was the first decision in the nation finding such laws cover municipalities.

The plaintiffs are Thomas Benson, Mark Rechlicz, Robert Muranyi and William Scheer. They had overseen operations at Madison's four municipal courses — Yahara Hills, Monona, Glenway and Odana Hills — until 2012 when the city decided it would not renew their agreements. The pros sued, but a circuit judge said the city was not a dealership under the law and dismissed the case.

A teen is shackled to a table at Lincoln Hills School for Boys. He and others like him have less than 8 inches to maneuver as they try to do school work.(Photo: ACLU, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - A federal judge ruled Thursday that videos of juvenile inmates being hit with pepper spray at Lincoln Hills School for Boys, but barred anyone from disclosing the names or identifying information about of the inmates. 

"It’s important that we know what goes on in the courts and it’s important that we know what goes on at Lincoln Hills," U.S. District Judge James Peterson said. 

The ruling came at the outset of a court hearing that will put the problems at Wisconsin's juvenile prison in open court for the first time.

The lawsuit, brought by teen inmates, is seeking to curb the use of pepper spray and solitary confinement at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus north of Wausau.

A teen is shackled to a table at Lincoln Hills School for Boys. He and others like him have less than 8 inches to maneuver as they try to do school work.(Photo: ACLU, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - A federal judge ruled Thursday that videos of juvenile inmates being hit with pepper spray at Lincoln Hills School for Boys, but barred anyone from disclosing the names or identifying information about of the inmates. 

"It’s important that we know what goes on in the courts and it’s important that we know what goes on at Lincoln Hills," U.S. District Judge James Peterson said. 

The ruling came at the outset of a court hearing that will put the problems at Wisconsin's juvenile prison in open court for the first time.

The lawsuit, brought by teen inmates, is seeking to curb the use of pepper spray and solitary confinement at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus north of Wausau.