Public Health Launches Violence Prevention 2018-11-30

Out of options: Dane County has a juvenile crime problem and few tools to solve it 2018-11-28

La Movida Interview 2018-11-14

FEATURED JUVENILE CRIME | FRUSTRATION BOILS OVER Madison police chief takes judges, juvenile ‘justice’ system to task in blog post 2018-10-17

DANE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY ISMAEL R. OZANNE  PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release Date: October 16, 2018 Time: 4:08 PM


Several media outlets have asked me to comment on statements made on October 16, 2018, by City of Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval about Dane County’s juvenile justice system. Chief Koval writes in his blog, “It is time to address juvenile behaviors that not only embrace what’s in the best interests of the child but acknowledges and acts upon ensuring the safety of our community as well.” I disagree: the juvenile’s best interests and the safety of our community are linked and it is past time we acknowledged this.

In an article published in today’s Wisconsin State Journal, the department’s spokesperson says that there are about 30 juveniles responsible for a disproportionate share of the serious juvenile crimes in Madison and that this core group has little fear that police or the courts will do anything to stop them. This begs some questions including what is a proportionate amount of serious crime for 30 juveniles to commit? Is that our goal, to increase the share of crime being committed by other juveniles? Is creating fear of governmental institutions really our second goal? I think not.

What Chief Koval and the police get right is that we people who live, work, or just pass through Madison and Dane County should feel safe. They should not live in fear. This means that when someone walks out of work or sleeps in their house, they should not wonder if a mugger – juvenile or otherwise – lurks in the darkness or a burglar – young or old – is about to invade their family’s safe place. They should not go to sleep wondering if the car they worked and saved to afford, that gets them to work, their kids to school and to the doctor, is going to be there when the sun comes up. And, if they are a victim of a crime, they should expect police, prosecutors, and judges to treat them with respect and compassion, and that all these system actors will try to deliver an outcome that holds the offender – juvenile or adult – accountable, protects the public, and tries to stop that offender from doing it again.

In the context of some juvenile offenders, this is going to mean confinement in Dane County’s Juvenile Reception Center pending disposition or being sent to a group home or state or regional facility following an adjudication of guilt. For some offenders, it is going to mean that my office seeks to move them to adult court to face the same penalties that an adult might face because the crime is too serious for the juvenile justice system.

These are necessary outcomes but they are short term solutions that temporarily incapacitate an offender in the hopes he or she may experience rehabilitation and in knowledge of the certainty that at least for a while he or she will not victimize someone else in Dane County. But as a county, we cannot and should not want to simply incarcerate our way out of our juvenile justice problems. Almost all of these kids are going to return to our county and instead of saying how long we want them gone and what we hope will happen while they are away, we should be talking about how we limit the number of kids who reach the point that we need to embrace these types of severe correctional experiences because each kid who goes represents a failure. A failure in the form of a victim who did not have to be a victim, and all the ripple effects that the victimization produces to victims’ families, friends, and communities. And a failure because our county does not do enough to address the root causes that address the lurch towards delinquency.

Multiple studies have concluded that early childhood intervention to ameliorate childhood risks such as exposure to abuse and neglect can reduce the likelihood that a child will enter the juvenile justice system.1 More importantly, longitudinal research in another country of a cohort of approximately 1000 children over four decades of their lives suggests that such early interventions can reduce not only long-term negative outcomes  for children but also the economic strain that abused and neglected children can place on society by after they reach adulthood by reducing insurance claims, hospital visits, tobacco use, criminal convictions, prescription drug use, and the need for welfare benefits.2 Applied to our own county, this means that early intervention will help starve our courts of both offenders and victims, and remove the impediments that prevent children from reaching their full potential.

As it relates to juvenile justice, for now, my office will use the tools we have to help keep our county safe. But I implore the people of this county to resist the urge to turn towards more severe and harsher punishments and instead ask them to join me in demanding and creating change. In demanding and creating a better approach to early childhood interventions to prevent abuse and neglect; in reducing the level of violence in our homes and on our streets; in providing support to keep families in decent housing and with access to nutritious foods and necessary healthcare, in providing safe and appropriate daycare, and in keeping our public schools safe and excellent. These decisions are in the best interest of our children and in the best interest of our community. 

1 Jonson-Reid, M. (2000) From Maltreatment Report to Juvenile Incarceration: The Role of Child Welfare Services, Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(4), 505-520.

2 Caspi, A. et al., (2016) Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with a large economic burden, Nat. Hum. Behav., 1, 0005.

The juvenile’s best interests and the safety of our community are linked.” 2018-10-17

Madison police chief, Dane County DA trade criticisms over juvenile justice system 2018-10-16

A Fresh Start: When Do Employers Have a Right to Know? 2018-09-11

Cycles of incarceration hit African Americans, children especially hard 2018-07-14

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Brought together by a hate crime: ‘Serve 2 Unite’ delivers message at Mount Horeb High School 2018-05-23

Dane County Seeks Better Protection For Victims Of Abuse 2018-05-16

I joined Diane Feinstein in a 2-day emergency summit in D.C. with Legislatures, Law Enforcement and fellow District Attorney’s from across the nation to work to end gun violence and re-instate universal background checks. 2018-05-17

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Children’s hospital starts ‘No Hit Zone’ program to prevent violence against children 2018-04-25

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Court program aimed at giving troubled youth a second chance set to expand 2018-05-14

The Dane County DA Office has only received one additional Assistant District Attorney since 1985 2018-02-21

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Moving Past Hate: Former White Supremacist and Oak Creek Temple Survivor speak at Monona Terrace 2017-12-09

The following is a video of the press conference yesterday. Members of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, a nonpartisan alliance of local law enforcement officials, lobbied against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. 2017-11-29

This news story details the new proposed gun legislation that would allow concealed-carry permits to be used outside the issuing State. I am at the press conference representing the Prosecutors Against Gun Violence 2017-11-29

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (C), flanked by members of Congress and district attorneys from across the country, speaks during a press conference about her opposition to a bill the House Judiciary Committee is considering, on Capitol Hill 2017-11-29

Rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to back sensible gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas. 2017-12-05


District Attorney Ismael Ozanne leading No Hit Zone movement 2017-11-28 by slypodcasts

DA to stop prosecuting low-level crimes as staffing shortage persists. Only the most serious cases will receive the attention of the Dane County District Attorney’s Office as prosecutors grapple with ongoing staffing shortages. 2017-10-24

Press conference with Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne and Sheriff Mahoney on state funding for prosecutors 2017-10-24

Dane County DA calls prosecutor shortage ‘public safety crisis’ Calls on county, state lawmakers to fund positions 2017-10-24

WI State Journal Guest Column Demand Action on Guns 2017-10-24

WI State Journal editorial: DAs deserve a pay raise in state budget 2017-5-31

Hundreds gather to ‘learn, to hear about Islam’ at Middleton event 2017-5-21

Let’s (maybe not) make a deal DA seeks greater oversight over plea bargains by subordinates 2017-5-4

Click to view Lee Hawkins of the Wall Street Journal interviews Stacey Patton, the author of “Spare the Kids-why whupping children won’t save Black America” that includes a chapter on “The Parent to Prison Pipeline” and how Wisconsin’s First Black District Attorney (Ismael Ozanne) connected hitting children to criminal justice outcomes

Expanded restorative justice programs offer young offenders an escape from life behind bars 2017-01-17

As county expands restorative justice court, a MacArthur grant will help 2017-02-01

Dane County can be model for criminal justice reform Neil Heinen Posted: Jan 31, 2017

Restoring justice Q&A with Ismael Ozanne, Dane County district attorney


Hundreds Gather For Madison Event To Talk Islam, Denounce Extremist Groups 2016-01-25 2016-02-01

Supreme Court allows John Doe prosecutors’ to file sealed documents in federal court 2016-02-06

United States Supreme Court grants John Chisholm delay to file application on Doe case 2016-02-18

Sun Prairie Public Library panel talks race, policing 2016-03-10

WORT Interview about what it is like to be DA and the No Hit Zone Program 2016-04-06

Ismael Ozanne is proud to be involved in this video addressing the increase of domestic violence in the African American community presented by the Black Leadership Council of Greater Madison and the office of Mayor Paul R Soglin STOP THE VIOLENCE 2016-04-26

As the Madison Police Department is dealing with an increase in gun violence in our community, African American leaders are coming together to say they’ve had enough violence. 2016-04-27

Prosecutors appeal John Doe decision to U.S. Supreme Court 2016-04-28

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign On John Doe, DAs Deserve Our Thanks! 2016-04-29

U.S. Supreme Court John Doe petition lays out legal questions in Scott Walker campaign finance coordination, judicial recusal 2016-04-29

Prosecutors lay out arguments for John Doe SCOTUS appeal 2016-04-30

Ismael Ozanne has referred McDonald’s case to the Community Restorative Court, a year-old pilot diversion program in south Madison that focuses on restitution and repair of harm. 2015-05-03

Will SCOTUS Confront the Results of Citizens United? A Wisconsin case now before the Supreme Court highlights just how much the justices got wrong. 2016-05-19

DA’s Response And Support Of The Need For Adequate Resources In The Criminal Justice System 2016-05-23

One of the many great programs in the Dane Co District Attorney’s Office 2016-05-26

U.S. Supreme Court allows secret debate in John Doe filing 2016-05-23

Dane County DA will face challenger from within his own office in re-election bid 2016-05-31

From Brooklyn to Badger Rd: New York “Restorative Justice” Experts Share Best Practices with Dane County 2016-06-06

Heinen: “Good stuff” going on in Madison now 2016-06-14

WORT interview Dane County DA Defends Record, Elected Seat 2016-06-20

CMD Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Prosecutors’ Appeal in John Doe II Corruption Case 2016-06-23

Dane County D.A. Ismael Ozanne refers East Towne arrestee to restorative justice program 2016-06-24

Genele Laird won’t be charged; referred to alternative restorative justice program 2016-06-25

Michael Johnson: Let community healing begin 2016-06-27

Information session held about Dane County Community Restorative Court

Radio Interview with Sly 2016-06-20

Elizabeth Crawford: Restorative justice program excellent choice for Laird 2016-07-06

Dane County DA candidate takes boss to task 2016-07-11

Assistant DA says boss is not doing his job, DA disagrees 2016-07-11

Ozanne’s difficulties are Walker’s fault — Tim Kiefer 2016-07-16

Philosophies clash in rancorous Dane County district attorney race 2016-07-25

A heated battle for Dane County DA 2016-07-28

Local restorative justice program counts police, court officials as fans 2016-07-31

Dane County Community Court to offer restorative justice to more victims, young offenders 2016-07-31

Dane County DA Candidates Pitch Their Messages to Voters 2016-08-01

Judith Munaker: Ozanne deserves re-election as Dane County DA 2016-08-01

Race issues dominate first DA candidate forum 2016-08-02

WKOW TV coverage of debate 2016-08-02

Ismael Ozanne: DA’s Office has made important strides under my leadership 2016-08-03

Top Prosecutors In Milwaukee, Madison Fight To Keep Their Jobs 2016-08-03


3 Dane County nurses: Ismael Ozanne deserves re-election to continue working on solutions for our community 2016-08-04

Aug. 9 election: Cap Times endorsement 2016-08-04

Ozanne, Jambois face off in debate 2016-08-05

Ismael Ozanne is the best choice for Dane County DA Wisconsin State Journal endorsement 2016-08-06

ael Ozanne beats Bob Jambois in race for Dane County District Attorney 2016-08-09

Incumbent Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne beats challenger Bob Jambois 2016-08-09

Ismael Ozanne re-elected as DA over prosecutor Bob Jambois 2016-08-09

Landslide Ozanne wallops Jambois in DA race 2016-08-10

Stoughton is sending a message to the country as they are the first city in the nation to go no hit

Dane County jail diversion report suggests expanding Community Restorative Court 2016-09-13

Capt Times Editorial “Expanding the Community Restorative Court received almost universal support as a top priority 2016-09-13

Matthew Rothschild: John Doe prosecutors deserve our thanks 2016-10-05

Children’s hospital becomes ‘no hit zone’ 2016-10-11

UW Health Doctor: Spanking, Physical Punishment Harmful To Children’s Brain Development 2016-10-11

Ismael Ozanne: Why I care about corporal punishment 2016-10-15

DA shortage a ‘public safety crisis’? 2016-10-16

Dr. Barbara Knox and Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne discuss the American Family Children’s Hospital’s “no hit zone” policy 2016-10-18

Broken promise: DA pay hikes haven’t materialized 2016-10-18



Ismael Ozanne made us think as much as listen State Journal editorial 2015-05-13

Ozanne’s courageous decision 2015-05-15


An unusual solution came out of Wisconsin when Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne launched a program to give “deferred prosecution agreements” to parents charged with child abuse if the parent was raised in a community—like Peterson’s—where corporal punishment is used to discipline. This was in response to the disproportionate percentage of minorities accused of child abuse in Dane County. #”Recognizing corporal punishment as a culturally acceptable form of discipline and attempt to influence change utilizing culturally sensitive interventions” is the goal of the program, Ozanne wrote. He has dealt with abuse cases where a parent took literally the biblical passages about physically punishing children, and his program is for parents who abused their children as a result of traditional corporal punishment, who have no criminal background and who show remorse.