"Do you know where your teenager is tonight?" Words to that effect used to be broadcast locally around curfew. I haven't heard it for a long time. These days, thanks to a Wisconsin law that treats some 17-year-olds as adults, a fair number of parents might have to answer, "In the state lockup."
This week's cover story looks at that law and the efforts to change it. Our society, not just Wisconsin, seems to be having a change of heart about the wisdom of this policy, the pendulum swinging back behind the force of science and closer scrutiny of the policy's effects.
"Juvenile Injustice" is the first contribution to Isthmus from Jacqueline Sutton, a freelance writer from Brooklyn, N.Y., who came to Madison last summer to accompany her fiancé, who began a fellowship in creative writing at the UW. A science writer, Sutton is a regular contributor to WebMD, the popular medical information site. Since coming here, she has availed herself of a stellar local resource, UW journalism professor Deborah Blum, herself a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer, who encouraged her to contribute to Isthmus. We're glad she did.
As you will see when reading the story, it is not simply a bleeding-heart appeal to save the children; it is a reasoned debate based on the science of the brain and what experience with the law seems to demonstrate. We hope to see more of Sutton's writing in the future.
You may think we're rushing things by producing and giving you the program for the 10th Wisconsin Film Festival almost a month in advance of the event, but considering the festival's scope, you'll need plenty of time to study the schedule, make your choices and get your tickets. There are 220 films being presented by the UW Arts Institute from April 3 through April 6, so you have some studying to do.
We've discovered a lot of hidden gems in this cinematic treasure chest over the years, and this year will be no exception. The films are listed in the program in alphabetical order; plus there are breakouts listing the thematic collections, such as "Wisconsin's Own," "Asian American Films," "The World of Jewish Films" and, in a nod to Hollywood, "Restorations and Revivals." (Planet of the Apes, anyone?)
You'll also find information on venues, tickets, parking, etc., including a map to get you from film to film. Be sure to read the fine print on page 4 so that we may all avoid regrettable incidents. We'll see you at the movies - next month.