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The Latest: Vos noncommittal on Walker prison plan

January 16, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Wisconsin prison investigation (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is not saying whether the Assembly will pass Gov. Scott Walker’s juvenile justice overhaul plan as proposed.

Vos said Tuesday that it’s possible Walker’s plan will pass this year, but Assembly Republicans are also looking at other alternatives that include housing more juveniles at county facilities rather than state-run prisons.

Walker on Tuesday called for the Legislature to pass his plan this year after earlier saying they could take it up in 2019.

Walker wants to remove juveniles from the troubled Lincoln Hills prison in northern Wisconsin and instead open five smaller regional prisons.

Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald were planning to meet Wednesday to discuss Walker’s proposal.

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11:55 a.m.

Republican legislative leaders plan to meet to discuss Gov. Scott Walker’s call to pass a state prison overhaul plan this year.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss Walker’s proposal.

Fitzgerald spokesman Dan Romportl says Fitzgerald is supportive of Walker’s concept to move juveniles out of the troubled Lincoln Hills prison and instead open five smaller regional prisons for male inmates.

Romportl says Fitzgerald wants to meet with Republican senators to measure the level of support for passing the plan this year as well as the proposal itself.

Walker initially called for the Legislature to consider it next year, but on Tuesday said he wanted it passed this year.

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7:09 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker wants to close Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison earlier than first planned.

The Republican governor, amid criticism from Democrats, is urging the Legislature to adopt his plan to close the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake juvenile facility near Wausau this spring, rather than 18 months from now.

The $80 million reorganization would change Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake into a medium security adult prison and open five smaller regional prisons for young offenders. An expanded mental health facility to house female prisons would also be built in Madison.

Walker said earlier this month he was open to moving up the closure if the Legislature wanted to do so this year, a move that could defuse a political liability for Walker as he seeks a third term in office.

Multiple lawsuits allege inmate abuse at the current facility.

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