Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Forms Task Force on Racial Disparities

September 08, 2008
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606 Colleen Clark Bernhardt, Office of Equal Opportunity (608) 266-3022
County Executive

Group to Examine Criminal Justice System, Offer Recommendations Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today the development of the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. The task force, created at the request of Falk and County Board Chairman Scott McDonell, is made up of Dane County citizens that will focus their efforts on changing disparities in our criminal justice system. The task force will provide analysis and make recommendations necessary to reduce racial disparity in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system. These experienced individuals will review the analysis and recommendations offered by the Governor’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities Report and make recommendations for the Equal Opportunity Commission, the County Executive and the Dane County Board of Supervisors. ”It is critical we ensure that each citizen receives fair and equal treatment under the law,” Falk said. “This task force is made up of talented and experienced individuals who will utilize this opportunity to make specific recommendations.” The task force is a multi-cultural, multi-disciplined representation of Dane County citizens. It is made up of representatives from all aspects of the Dane County criminal justice system. These citizens represent areas ranging from: re-entry from prisons, police, service agencies, courts, and community advocates. In February 2008, the Governor’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System report was completed. In this comprehensive report, there is information and recommendations that can be utilized on a local level. The task force will use the state report as a foundation to developing further recommendations specific to Dane County. “The Dane County Equal Opportunity Commission welcomes the opportunity to be involved in this important issue of Racial Disparities in our Criminal Justice System and its effect on the community,” Commission chairwoman Yolanda Woodward said. “It is our hope that compiling diverse members of the community who are involved in this sensitive issue, we can finally put together a plan of action that will not only protect the community impacted by the criminal justice system, but also develop policies that reduces the disparities. # # #