Act 185

​2017 Act 185 Overview

2017 Wisconsin Act 185 ("Act 185") restructures Wisconsin's juvenile correctional system, which is a part of the broader youth justice system. The act establishes new Department-operated Type 1 facilities for youth adjudicated under the Serious Juvenile Offender (SJO) program or convicted as adults. It also establishes county and/or tribal Secure Residential Care Centers for Children and Youth (SRCCs) for non-SJO juvenile correctional placements.

The Act will expand the Department of Health Services' (DHS) Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center (MJTC) by at least 29 beds. Wisconsin's existing juvenile correctional facility, Copper Lake School/Lincoln Hills School (CLS/LHS), will be converted to an adult correctional institution. The legislation requires these changes take place no later than January 1, 2021.


Background on the DOC Division of Juvenile Corrections (DJC)

DJC has two primary responsibilities:

On average, youth continue on correctional supervision for three to four months after leaving a JCF, except serious juvenile offenders who may remain on supervision for two to three years.


DJC 2019 At-a-Glance Brochure

DJC Overview of Services

DJC Population Data Report

Draft Emergency Rule Governing SRCCs

The Department has developed a Draft Emergency Rule governing SRCCs which will be submitted to the Governor's Office on December 17th. To provide input, please e-mail your comments to by December 10th.


Currently, there are 13 Juvenile Detention Centers across the state that are county-run.

Youth Justice System Illustration

Please click below for an illustration of the Wisconsin youth justice system and how Act 185 reshapes the juvenile correctional system:

Link to PDF of Act 185 diagram 

Act 185 Information

Act 185 Text

Act 185 Legislative Council Act Memo

Department of Corrections Summary of Act 185

DOC 347 Emergency Rule