Letters to the Editor

Reintegration: Be mindful of prisoner labels

Paul Jackson

University Place

Re: “Murder story distorts image of ex-prisoners,” (TNT, 12/10).

It was a letdown — or should I say a re-affirmation — when I saw the headline you used for this op-ed authored by Zachary Kinneman and Susan Mason.

The very reason they wrote the piece was to dispel the public’s common misperceptions about people released from prison. The op-ed was about correcting how individuals who have been in the justice system are generally perceived.

Changing the headline that they submitted (”Commutations should continue — but with help from the experts”) only validated the authors’ concerns. Words such as “murder” and “ex-prisoners” feed into stereotypes that impede our ability to successfully reintegrate into society.

So thank you for reminding us that What’s Next Washington has much work to do and that the road will be long.

(Paul Jackson is a board member of What’s Next Washington.)