It is time to acknowledge that Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne is moving as aggressively to address the intolerable racial inequities that exist in the Dane County criminal justice system as any public official since the disparities were first brought to light. And we find it tremendously encouraging.
Racial disparities in Dane County are among the worst in the nation, in a state that is among the worst in the nation in that regard. We’ve known it, we’ve documented it, we’ve produced recommendations and yet we haven’t done enough to address it.
But Ozanne and his top staff have recently embarked on efforts to re-think approaches to corporal punishment cases and, armed with the results of yet another study, look at different approaches to respond to less serious, non-violent offenses by young people of color, as ways to deal with issues outside of charges and criminal records. While details still must be worked out we think the approaches are smart and just, and we encourage Ozanne to continue his efforts to actually do something about the inequities in our system.