From Two to 10 Syllables! –New York State to Stop Using ‘Inmate;’ Will Use ‘Incarcerated Individual’ Instead

Frank Report picked this up from one of our correspondents who got it from Governing.com, which got it from the Auburn Citizen, which got it from Tribune News Service, which got it from reporter Robert Harding, who presumably got it from the New York State government, possibly from a press release from the governor’s office, who got it from the governor, or from the NYS Assembly and/or the NYS Senate or possibly some other wire service or potentially a justice reform group.

Here is our report:

New York to Replace ‘Inmate’ With ‘Incarcerated Individual’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that replaces ‘inmate’ with ‘incarcerated individual’ for the Dept. of Corrections.

The old term is “derogatory and dehumanizing.”

The law takes effect immediately.

In New York State, the Department of Corrections, which oversees New York’s 50 state prisons and its 32,000 prisoners will now call the latter “incarcerated individuals.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this week that replaces the word “inmate” or “inmates” with “incarcerated individual” or “incarcerated individuals.” The bill passed the state Assembly and Senate with bipartisan support in June.

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who sponsored the bill, thanked formerly incarcerated individuals for an epiphany of understanding.

He said they told him, “I’m a person. I’m not an inmate. I’m not a convict. I’m not a prisoner.”

“That education actually led to this moment,” Rivera said before the Senate passed the bill.   “I want to thank each and every [formerly incarcerated individual] for educating me on that subject.”

The report also quotes the Vera Institute of Justice’s Think Justice blog’s, writer Erica Bryant who wrote that “convict,” “felon” and “inmate” are outdated words and harmful to incarcerated individuals.

Bryant, in turn, quotes formerly incarcerated individual Jerome Wright, who now is part of #HALTSolitary [confinement] Campaign in New York.

Wright said that “the language begins to be totally derogatory, debasing and dehumanizing.”

The story continues to state:
  1.  “inmate” suggests that “incarcerated people should be permanently demonized and stigmatized”
  2. It is used to “discriminate against people who are or have been involved in the criminal legal system.”
  3. “Using terms such as ‘incarcerated individual’ recognizes the humanity of people
  4. It exemplifies the redeemable value of human beings.
  5. Studies have shown these terminologies have an inadvertent and adverse impact on individuals’ employment, housing and other communal opportunities.
  6. This can impact one’s transition from incarceration, potential for recidivism, and societal perception.

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will no longer use “inmate” but “incarcerated individual” in all its statements, written, verbal, or otherwise.

A Humble Suggestion

Instead of changing the words – change the dehumanizing conditions of prison.

 

 


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Frank Parlato

16 Comments

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  • Just call them all, “Vanguard”.

    They were not necessarily criminals, just super high IQ leaders making the world a better place by creating and following their own ethical code and laws that you do not understand.

  • Sigh. On this, I do side with conservatives. The SJW is such useless garbage that do more harm than good. They are so focused on the use of words all the time, looking for excuses to feel slighted and insulted, that they confuse nonsense like phrase changes as meaningful accomplishments. Fixing prisons to be more humane is expensive, hard, and the GOP is guaranteed to push back against such reform with everything they have (more due to cost and push back from private prison companies than anything).

    But a name change? Politicians are happy to go along with that because it allows them to do the happy feel-good soundbites to keep them in office while not actually having to do anything meaningful or expensive. The SJWs walk away breaking an arm patting themselves on the back and the politicians just laugh quietly at the easy layup that was handed to them.

  • I’m suspicious of charts showing alleged “alarming trends” when said charts have no data beyond 2013.

    Of the three charts heading this article, one ends in 2012. Another in 2013, the third in 2016.

    Total incarceration in the U.S. has been dropping since 2005. This despite an increasing population.

    Hardly the mass incarceration crisis prison reformers would have us believe.

    Are prisoners treated inhumanely? Are prisons the filthy black holes prison reformers would have us believe? Let’s have a look at USP Tucson and our favorite inmate Keith Raniere.

    All the pictures on Frank Report show USP Tucson to be immaculate. Modern, spacious, orderly, with gleaming linoleum floors. Raniere has been reported here as being in excellent physical condition, getting plenty of exercise. Evidently he is no longer the pizza scarfing overweight lazy slob he was when he was as Magus of Flintlock Lane.

    Sure, it’s possible to find pictures of filthy disgraceful prison cells. An inmate can trash his cell in a matter of minutes. Throw food around, piss on the floor. “Oh look! We are abused! There’s sewage on the floor!”

    Raniere is where he belongs. He’s being treated as a human being as he should. He gets three hot meals and a cot to sleep on, plenty of exercise opportunities, access to TV and reading materials, his fellow convicts to socialize with, visiting rights, clean air conditioned surroundings.

    This is how the United States treats felons serving life sentences for crimes they have been convicted of by juries of their fellow citizens. Americans have nothing to be ashamed of.

  • RE Inmate’ With ‘Incarcerated Individual’:

    Every time the current name for “something” is deemed derogatory a few decades pass and the “new” name once again is changed because it is then considered derogatory.

    Retard became handicap, became mentally challenged became became special became……

    The old word for normal, heterosexual, has been changed to cisgender. Recently, I have heard teenagers say to one another, “are you really cis[cisgender]” as an insult.

    So cisgender will probably be changing in the near future.

    Check out the website below to read more about word changes.
    http://nda.ie/Publications/Attitudes/Appropriate-Terms-to-Use-about-Disability/

    Natural Disability Association Word Changes:

    Term no longer in use: mental handicap
    Term Now Used: intellectual disability

    Term no longer in use: mentally handicapped
    Term Now Used: intellectually disabled

    Term no longer in use: normal
    Term Now Used: non-disabled

    ==========
    I am still in total shock it’s considered offensive, these days, if I refer to myself as heterosexual. I’m personally drawing the line in the sand over heterosexual. I choose what words to use to describe myself. No one else!
    ============

    • I wish we could use ‘stewardess’ still. And ‘waitress’.

      So I hear ya, Nice Heterosexual. But where I’m drawing the line is at renaming ‘strippers’. They got no mother fuckin’ clothes on. They might be ‘dancing’ around but there’s nothing ‘exotic’ about it.

      • —But where I’m drawing the line is at renaming ‘strippers’.

        LOL

        Waitress and Stewardess?
        I had know idea it is wrong now….
        I’m getting old.

  • I accidentally did not post my comment 🙁

    Frank, I just want to say kudos for the great work. I agree with what you say. Find meaningful ways to impact inmates.

  • When I did time, I referred to my self as a prisoner. It was my way to be accountable for the crimes I committed.

    Being accountable helped me put my life in order and never put myself in a situation where I’m back there again.

    • In my experience, those who are incarcerated for more than 10-years, those who have been incarcerated more than once, and those who are incarcerated for certain types of crimes (e.g., crimes of violence, big-time drug dealing, etc.) refer to themselves – and are referred to by others – as “convicts”. And those who don’t meet those criteria are generally referred to as “inmates”.

      Everyone who is incarcerated is a prisoner regardless of whether they’re in a jail or a prison (Note that we don’t call the ones who are in jail “jailers”). And of all the prisoners, some are “convicts” and some are “inmates”.

      I don’t think there are any hard-and-fast rules on this stuff…but this is what I’ve picked up over the years.

      • Claviger-

        You anti-cultist types are all the same. I always say what I mean. Your hate and blind rage for what you don’t understand and lack of intelligence there-of to comprehend the unintelligible world of dogmatic rhetoric means you will never quite grasp the ‘inconsequential’ thoughts I share with you. Unfortunately, only the caretaker of this website posses an intellect ‘almost’ as great as mine.

        I bet you think Yoga is a gateway drug to cults or self-tantric worship. Hardly!

        I wonder what Alanzo thinks… He shares my esoteric beliefs 😉

  • In my experience working in a maximum-security prison, I learned that some of the inmates preferred to be known as convicts. It was considered to be more professional. Seriously.

  • Many years ago, I worked for the probation and parole system in a state. In the minimum security prisons, which you were to call “Correction Centers,” the inmates were to be called “residents.”

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He was credited in the Starz docuseries, 'Seduced,' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato has appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest, which was ironic since many credit Parlato as being one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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