Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s former corrections secretary are accusing the attorney general of completely “botching up” a probe into abuses at Wisconsin’s teen prison by allegedly failing to review incident reports or check medical records after months worth of investigations.
Former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall said that Attorney General Brad Schimel turned over the probe to the FBI a year after it started as a “Hail Mary pass “ to get it out of their lap.” Wall also accused the attorney general of not taking the problems at Lincoln Hills School for Boys seriously enough, and dismissing the matter as something that had been shuffled off by the governor’s office.”
Schimel for his part contends that Wall was merely attempting to “retaliate” against him with misinformation. He didn’t clarify, however, whether Wall’s claims that investigators failed to review medical records were true.
Wall resigned as corrections secretary in 2016 when details about the Lincoln probe became public. He used to head the criminal investigation unit at the state Department of Justice.
Wall started an internal probe of Lincoln Hills in October 2014 and asked the DOJ soon after that to open a criminal probe.
DOJ conducted an investigation of its own for about a year before passing the case on to the FBI. The probe is ongoing and federal prosecutors recently informed two guards that they could be charged.
The investigation is looking into allegations of prisoner abuse, child neglect, and other crimes. State officials also face separate, multiple lawsuits over the facility including one that triggered a court order to reduce the use of solitary confinement and pepper spray.
Wall also said that he discovered in November 2015 that DOJ investigators had not gathered medical records or prison reports about certain incidents in which teen inmates claimed their arms had been broken by the staff. Wall said it was simply alarming that investigators had not taken such basic steps to try to verify the claims.
Wall accused Schimel that the lead investigator he assigned on the case only worked on it on a part-time basis. Work on the Lincoln case was always put off, said Wall, to give way to other cases the investigator was more focused on. Wall further said the Lincoln probe was “constantly put on the back burner.”
He concluded by saying: “The FBI involvement, in the end, was a Hail Mary pass by the Department of Justice. They just wanted to get it out of their lap. It had been completely botched.”