MILWAUKEE -- A mother is outraged after finding out her 8-year-old son was transported in a van with adult prisoners.
Sara Hellesen said her son, Izayah, who is diagnosed with multiple mental disabilities, was transported from the Wheaton Franciscan Treatment Center in Racine to a hospital in Winnebago.
Hellesen said the van was full of adult prisoners at the time.
"At first I was kind of shocked. I'm thinking that my son was being transported by himself, but he wasn't," Hellesen said. "It's hard enough, you know, with what he's been through, and what he's gone through so far. And my son shouldn't have to see people in shackles and he shouldn't have to see chains wrapped around people and women in straight jackets. It's just something that needs to be worked on. There's a glitch in the system that has to be fixed."
Racine County has a contract with the Green Bay-based company called Lock & Load to transport mental health patients and prisoners.
The company's operations director Doug Thomas told 12 News Izayah was in a separate area from the adults and could not see them from where he was sitting.
"Well, the county is very upset about it, too," Racine County Corporation Counsel Jonathan F. Lehman said.
The company said it will not happen again. The sheriff's department said it has a sight-and-sound policy with regard to separating juveniles and adults.
County administrators said there was obviously a glitch and steps are being taken to fix it.
"In speaking with the judge this morning who handles these cases, he feels as though discussion on the record from the bench on transportation for someone this young, which is atypical, but that will go on as well, so I think from all of the different points of the compass we're looking at a better outcome in the future," Lehman said.
Hellesen said she is grateful no serious harm came to her son during the transport and she is pleased to see that the county is taking steps to make certain it never happens again.
County administrators said they have no record of anything like the incident ever happening before. They said they are confident it won't happen again.