Re: “DOC doing away with the standard terms to describe inmates” (TNT, 11/4)
The Washington State Department of Corrections has decided to refer to convicted law violators in our prisons as “students” or “patients” as applicable, or as “incarcerated persons” to promote a more positive self-image for this community. Apparently, the terms prisoners, offenders or convicts convey too negative a connotation for these individuals.
Huh? The terms prisoners, offenders or convicts are already much more generous than calling this particular population what they actually are: convicted rapists, murders, sex offenders, arsonists, assailants, thieves, criminals, etc. This takes political correctness to a whole new, absurd level.
Let’s be intellectually honest enough to recognize that poor choices have consequences. The DOC’s agency objective is “stressing personal responsibility and accountability” and its value statement is “treat individuals with dignity and understanding.”
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There is nothing derogatory or offensive in the terms prisoners, offenders or convicts; they are totally accurate and provide a good reminder to individuals they are being held accountable for their actions. Following the Corrections secretary’s logic, maybe the term “prison” is too harsh and these facilities should now be referred to as “long term care and treatment stations” or “limited access accommodations” or “remedial education and welfare institutions.”