Inmate is Out! NY Changes Term For People Behind Bars to Restore Dignity
Inmate is out. So is felon, prisoner, and convict. New York has a new law, changing the name of people behind bars.
New legislation in New York replaces the outdated terminology with 'incarcerated individual' to help reduce the harmful stigma surrounding anyone in the justice system.
"In New York, we're doing everything in our power to show that justice and safety can go hand-in-hand," Governor Hochul said. "We can make our streets and communities safer by giving justice-involved individuals the chance to complete their rehabilitation program and work at the same time. By treating all New Yorkers with dignity and respect, we can improve public safety while ensuring New Yorkers have a fair shot at a second chance."
For years, individuals in the criminal justice system have said terms such as felon, inmate, prisoner, and convict dehumanize them and perpetuate the idea that they should be permanently demonized and stigmatized.
The bill, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul will hopefully eliminate barriers and create more opportunities for incarcerated individuals when they are released.
Legislation (A.6977A/S.643A) expands the hours that parolees can attend required community supervision programs to nonworking hours, which will help them maintain their jobs or continue their education programs.
Once incarcerated individuals are released from prison, they are often required to attend rehabilitative programs during business hours, making it difficult to keep jobs or attend educational or training courses. The new bill will allow them to prioritize both rehabilitative programs and educational opportunities at the same time.