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During his 2018 campaign, Gov. Tony Evers set a goal to reduce Wisconsin’s prison population by half, although he has never provided a time frame for implementing that plan.

During a Democratic candidate debate in July 2018, then-gubernatorial candidate Evers said a reduction of the state prison population by 50% would be a “goal worth accomplishing.” He added that the state’s criminal justice system must “stop incarcerating people for nonviolent crimes, that’s the bottom line.”

In a 2019 interview with Wisconsin Watch, Evers reaffirmed his goal to halve the prison population and spoke about working towards this goal through the introduction of policies such as increasing the number of paroles.

Wisconsin’s total inmate population has gone down since the start of Evers’ term, dropping from 23,292 on Jan. 11, 2019 to 20,275 on Sept. 30, 2022. That’s a 13% reduction — far short of 50%. 


WisconsinEye: TMJ4 & UW Milwaukee host Democratic gubernatorial debate — July 12, 2018

State of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Department of Corrections data and reports

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.