The Dane County District Attorney’s office does not have the resources to do its work properly. Neither do other DA’s offices around the state. But since we live in and around Dane County that’s our point of reference.
This is a state issue. The DA’s office is paid for by the state. That idea seemed reasonable when instituted years ago. But for the last ten years or more funding has declined, staffs have been cut, caseloads have gone up and now we have a crisis. Last week County Exec Parisi, District Attorney Ozanne, and most important, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services Executive Director Shannon Barry said the funding issue is threatening essential functions of the criminal justice system. We’ve known it’s been burning out dedicated staff for years. Now it’s also hurting victims, families and communities.
There is nothing remotely political about this. This is a crisis. And as DA Ozanne put it, “Public safety is not negotiable.” This legislature needs to respond immediately.