The Wisconsin Department of Corrections confirmed Tuesday that the search was underway. It comes as prison workers have said they feared the inmates were planning a full-scale riot in the wake of several recent violent episodes.
Corrections Department spokesman Tristan Cook says the search will be facility-wide at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile prisons. Former Lincoln Hills union steward Doug Curtis says staff have been told the search will take place over two days.
Curtis says the search is overdue, given that prison guards have reported several potentially dangerous items as missing recently, including drill bits and razor blades.