MADISON, Wis. — This week, Tim Michels released another ad falsely bashing Gov. Evers on parole and public safety. Michels is once again misrepresenting the facts in order to scare voters and divide our state.
Fact Check: Michels’ latest ad suggests Evers’ policies have led to an increase in crime.
The reality is that Gov. Evers has always prioritized public safety. From passing significant public safety legislation to making enormous investments in law enforcement and violence prevention, Gov. Evers has been working diligently to keep the people of Wisconsin safe.
- Gov. Evers is committed to keeping violent criminals off the streets. In April of this year, Evers signed a bill to prevent violent criminals and sex offenders from being released early from prison in the future. Evers’ bill would also prevent violent criminals and sex offenders from being released early on probation in the future.
- Gov. Evers is taking action to fund our police and keep our communities safe. Evers has devoted over $100 million to law enforcement and violence prevention in Wisconsin. He has directed funding to every single local and tribal law enforcement agency in Wisconsin, and increased pay for state troopers by 10%. Gov. Evers has devoted $10 million to fight crime in Milwaukee alone, including over $2 million in direct response to shootings in downtown Milwaukee this summer.
- Gov. Evers plans to build on these investments in his next term. Gov. Evers has recently proposed $105 million in his next executive budget to support public safety across Wisconsin, including an 8% increase in shared revenue, $10 million for police and first responder costs, and $3.5 million for state patrol officers’ overtime.
Fact Check: Other testimonials in the ad claimed that “Evers released hundreds of violent criminals from prison” and “some of the worst offenders in Wisconsin history.”
The reality is that in Wisconsin, only the parole chair can decide who gets paroled. The governor has no role in these decisions.
- As the Journal Times puts it, “paroles are decided by a state commission that operates independently of the governor.” The Associated Press noted, “while the governor decides who is granted a pardon, he does not control paroles.” And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote, “Evers appoints the chairperson to the state parole commission, but does not make parole decisions.” Similarly, Politifact said, “the governor does not directly allow any release.” Gov. Evers took action to change the leadership of the parole commission earlier this year. .
- While the parole chair, John Tate never received a full confirmation hearing, he was unanimously recommended (5-0) for confirmation by the Republican controlled Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. If Republicans in the legislature were unhappy with his performance, they could simply have put his confirmation to a vote in the full Senate and rejected his confirmation. Instead, Republicans like Michels play political games while Gov. Evers has actually held those responsible for these decisions accountable.
- Of the convicted criminals released under Gov. Evers’ administration, nearly half were released because their release was required by law. In Wisconsin, some paroles are discretionary and others are required by law. The parole commission has oversight over both discretionary and mandatory parole.
- As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stated, the Wisconsin Parole Commission “is required to parole felons who have completed either the Earned Release Program or the Challenge Incarceration Program.”
- Evers’ parole commission has released fewer inmates via discretionary parole than Governor Scott Walker, and nearly 50x less than Governor Tommy Thompson, who presided over record releases in the 90s, leading to political criticism and the resignation of his parole chair.
- Scott Walker’s administration granted over 650 discretionary paroles during his time in office.
- Tommy Thompson’s administration granted 23,000 discretionary paroles during his tenure as governor. Governor Thompson has also endorsed Michels in his race for governor.
- Governor Walker’s administration also paroled more violent offenders than the Parole Commission has under Gov. Evers. Criminals paroled under Walker and Thompson include hundreds of violent criminals including murderers, rapists, and child molesters.
- Politifact recently rated Michels’ assertion that Scott Walker released “zero” offenders on parole during his time in office, “pants on fire” false, “false and ridiculous,” and “wildly wrong.”
Fact Check: The ad argues of offenders paroled, “some struck again and others will.”
The reality is that Michels’ radical agenda anti-gun safety agenda will enable criminals and endanger Wisconsin law enforcement.
- Individuals released since 2019 have reoffended at a far lower rate than individuals released during the Walker administration. The rate of discretionarily paroled offenders who had a criminal violation of their parole in the Walker administration was more than double the rate under the Evers administration.
- Michels supports a radical agenda on guns that would make Wisconsin less safe. Michels opposes common sense gun safety measures like red flag laws that allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals who a judge has concluded might be dangerous. He opposed bipartisan federal legislation making it harder for domestic abusers to get guns, but supports letting 18 year olds buy AR-15s with no waiting period. And he has promised to lift restrictions on firearms as governor and let people bring loaded guns on school grounds.