OZANNE'S RIGHT ON SPANKING
The criticism being leveled at Dane County District
Attorney Ismael Ozanne for a new program designed
to provide criminal justice alternatives for some
parents charged with excessively disciplining their
kids is short sighted and unwise.
Over the last year or so, Ozanne and members of
his staff have thoughtfully and carefully created
a new position in the differed prosecution unit to
identify parents entering the system for what they
might argue is appropriate disciplining of their children,
and get those parents counselling and services rather
than a criminal record that might not be warranted.
Make no mistake: this is NOT in any way a reduced
emphasis on child abuse, which will be vigorously
prosecuted and punished as much as ever. This is about
experts identifying legitimate cases of misjudgment,
lack of understanding or even family patterns that
can be dealt with in ways that help everybody involved.
Granted the criticism identified in Wednesday's
State Journal story seems overtly political given
Ozanne's candidacy for Attorney General. This issue
deserves better than that. Healthy discussion and
listening are welcome. But knee-jerk rejection is
not, because Ozanne is right on this issue.