Posted by: SWL | May 5, 2016

New Language at Justice Dept. Takes PC Too Far

The US Department of Justice has decided to make individuals in the criminal justice system feel better by not using the words “felon” or “convict”. The DOJ finds these terms, used for decades, to be “disparaging”. Replacement language will include “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated”. (Read the full story here.)

DOJ needs to consider history and English before making these crazy pronouncements. “Convict” comes from “person convicted of a crime”, “felon” from “person convicted of a felony crime”. So DOJ’s new “person who committed a crime” will just get shortened back to “criminal” which I doubt fits their new sensitive perspective.

The rational for this change is to make prisoners feel they can make positive changes in their lives. I appreciate the idea of trying to get those who break the law successfully integrated back into a law-abiding lifestyle after they serve their sentences. While labels do have an effect on people, there are many other more powerful forces working against those leaving prison or jail. The new labels likely will not make a former prisoner feel better about themselves, and certainly will not make businesses cease to worry about possible complications of hiring an “individual who was incarcerated”.

I sincerely hope no taxpayer money is spent reprinting DOJ documents to change these phrases.



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