New superintendent at Wisconsin youth prison hired

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new superintendent at Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison that Gov. Scott Walker wants to convert to an adult facility has been hired.

The state Department of Corrections announced Thursday that 24-year agency veteran Jason Benzel has been hired. He will begin the job on Jan. 22.

The post had been vacant since the previous superintendent Wendy Peterson resigned in August. Benzel becomes the fourth leader at the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake prisons in just over two years.

The prison is the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging inmate abuse and a federal investigation has been ongoing for three years. Walker announced earlier this month he wants to move juveniles out of it in 2019.

Benzel began his career as a guard and has held a number of positions, most recently deputy warden at the Prairie du Chien adult prison.

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