Inmates, No More… New York Changes What We Call People Behind Bars
What term do you use when referring to a person in jail or prison? We have always known that person described as an 'inmate' of the correctional system, or other outdated terms. That is about to change in New York State as part of a legislative package to promote greater fairness and restore dignity for justice-involved individuals, according to the New Yórk State Governor Kathy Hochul's website.
This legislation was signed by the New York State Governor on August 8th. The word 'inmate' will now be replaced with the words 'incarcerated individual.' Governor Hochul's website states that terms such as inmate, felon, prisoner, and other terms, dehumanize persons in the criminal system and give off the idea that those persons should be permanently demonized and stigmatized.
"Language matters. I am proud that my bill to replace all references of the word inmate with incarcerated individual in New York State law has been signed today by Governor Hochul. For too long, we as a society have thought of incarcerated individuals as less than people. The use of the word "inmate" further dehumanizes and demoralizes them. This is another concrete step our State is taking to make our criminal justice system one that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than relying solely on punishment." - New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera
This change helps to eliminate opportunity barriers that incarcerated individuals face. The new legislation also expands the hours that parolees can attend required community supervision programs to nonworking hours. This makes it easier to maintain their jobs and continue education programs.
For more information on this new legislation, visit the New York State Governor's website.
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