Contact: Charles Nichols
[Madison, WI] – In an attempt to garner support for his new social justice proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession, Governor Evers lied to Wisconsinites by stating that drug-related offenses make up as much as 75-85% of the state’s inmate population. In reality, such offenses make up only 11% of the inmate population. The Governor’s claim was a complete mischaracterization of the truth – and he knows it. Later, after media outlets ran with Evers’ version of the truth, the Governor’s team quietly scrubbed the statistic in a revised press release on his website. Yet, Evers’ social media posts declaring this “fact” remain. This begs the question, did Governor Evers purposely lie to the public in order to further his political agenda?
Read the full write-up here or find excerpts below.
Up In Smoke: Evers’ Claim About Pot And Prison Quietly Disappears
February 21, 2019
When Gov. Tony Evers announced his “first step” proposal to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, he said he wanted to make it clear that the wide-ranging initiative wasn’t just about access to health care.
Surrounded by legalization advocates, including state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and state Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), Evers justified his call to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana (less than 25 grams) by making it a social justice issue.
In a press release and on his official Twitter account Evers declared that “drug-related offenses make up as much as 75-85% of inmate populations.”
The claim is patently false. And it appears Team Evers knows that now, too.
The latest version of the press release on the governor’s web page scrubs the 75-85 percent “fact.” The release now notes, “This is an updated version that corrects an inaccurate statistic that was included in error.” It does not specify what the “inaccurate statistic” was, but the figure’s disappearance and actual facts fill in the blanks.
As NewsTalk 1130 WISN talk show host Dan O’Donnell noted in his column this week for MacIver News Service, 11 percent of inmates were incarcerated for drug-related offenses, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ most recent analysis of inmates.
That didn’t stop Evers and legalization advocates from spraying the Internet with such falsities.
And the assertion about drug-related incarceration rates in Wisconsin received little to no vetting from mainstream media sources — both state and national.
NBC ran with the statistic, quoting Evers’ assertion in the original press release without challenging the Democratic Party talking point.
WTMJ4 in Milwaukee ran Evers’ faulty stat as fact. “In fact, drug-related crimes account for 75 to 85 percent of inmates in state prisons,” the TV station echoed.
The Evers press office didn’t seem all that interested in answering MacIver News Service’s questions on Thursday afternoon.
Read the full write-up here.