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 counseling 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.