July 24, 2020
Colleen Clark-Bernhardt
County Board

At their meeting yesterday, the Dane County Criminal Justice Council approved a change in leadership.  County Board Chair Analiese Eicher was voted in unanimously as the new Chair of the Criminal Justice Council (CJC).  District Attorney Ismael Ozanne was nominated as Vice Chair and continues in his long-standing role as Vice Chair.


"This next year will provide an opportunity to break through past barriers, reimagine, and build on the past decade of cross-system collaboration to make real headway and push even further" said County Board Chair Analiese Eicher.  "I also want to thank and acknowledge County Executive Parisi on his leadership of the CJC over the last several years". 


The Criminal Justice Council (CJC) is comprised of the County Executive, the Sheriff, the District Attorney, the Presiding Judge, the Clerk of Courts, and the County Board Chair, as well as local law enforcement, the Public Defender, Wisconsin Department of Corrections and other key stakeholders that work collaboratively on criminal justice reform initiatives. 


"The CJC allows the leaders in Dane County a forum for communication, collaboration and systems change," said District Attorney Ozanne.  "I look forward to working on issues of fairness, public safety and racial equity in our criminal justice system while keeping victims in the forefront of these discussions."


The change in leadership follows a 14-point proposal to work on criminal justice reform to improve equitable access to justice that Chair Eicher and Representative Stubbs announced a few weeks ago.  The proposal was presented to the CJC at Thursday’s meeting and highlighted recommendations drawn from past community and stakeholder task forces, committees and ad hoc groups.


The CJC also received a report from Professor John Eason on an analysis he completed to determine the impact of jail population reduction on the incidence of COVID-19 in the jail as well as the projection of COVID-19 infection if the reduction had not occurred. 


Professor Eason is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at UW-Madison.  Eason previously served as Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, as well as Assistant to Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University.  His primary research interests link race, health, punishment, and inequality to community processes.


His early research has shown that the jail infection rate would have been substantially higher had decreases in the jail population not occurred.  Professor Eason will continue his research through May 2021. 


"Working with the CJC to look at data and policy can bring the power of academia to the practical application of justice in Dane County" said Eason.  "I am excited to work with CJC members bridging the gap between government and the UW".


The Criminal Justice Council will convene again in August, agendas, research and reports can be found here: cjc.countyofdane.com.


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