The Gazette's "thumbs down" Monday to “politicizing plan to close youth prisons’’ misrepresents the facts.

“Walker’s plan to open smaller regional facilities makes good sense, and Democrats should acknowledge as much,’’ The Gazette stated.

Democrats have not criticized Walker’s plan. That’s because Walker’s plan was lifted from a Democratic proposal. Representative Evan Goyke, D-Racine, outlined what became the Walker plan to Republican and Democratic legislators and staffers at the Capitol on Nov. 29. He presented data and research in support of the plan. The Wisconsin State Journal reported the presentation on Nov. 30.

Rep. Goyke introduced Assembly Bill 791, which will close the Lincoln Hills School with the aim of converting it to an adult correctional facility. AB 791 also requires the Department of Corrections to open regional juvenile correctional centers statewide.

Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, and I are both co-sponsors.

Rep. Goyke did not criticize Governor Walker for issuing the Goyke plan as his own idea.

In fact, Goyke commended the administration. “The new policy initiatives unveiled today demonstrates exciting progress in reforming Wisconsin’s corrections system,’’ Goyke stated.

Democrats did not criticize the Walker plan. They criticized Walker, noting that he had allowed Lincoln Hills to fester for five years before announcing “his’’ plan as he begins his re-election campaign. They criticized Walker’s attempt to find political cover for his long-running failure to act.

Walker wants to wait until after the election to begin implementing Goyke’s plan. Why wait? AB 791 is ready for legislative action now.

DEBRA KOLSTE

44th Assembly District representative

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