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As crime rates soar, New York Gov. attempts to 'improve public safety' by changing law so that 'inmates' will now be referred to as 'incarcerated individuals'
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As crime rates soar, New York Gov. attempts to 'improve public safety' by changing law so that 'inmates' will now be referred to as 'incarcerated individuals'

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has just signed a law that stipulates "inmates" in her state will now be referred to as "incarcerated individuals," a move that is unlikely to stymie the surge in violent crime that has recently plagued nearly every major metropolitan area in America, including New York City.

According to a statement released by her office, Hochul claims that the language change will help "justice-involved" persons feel better about themselves and may perhaps encourage them to engage more seriously in their rehabilitation efforts.

"Individuals impacted by the criminal justice system have long noted that terms such as felon, inmate, prisoner, and convict dehumanize individuals and perpetuate the idea that incarcerated people should be permanently demonized and stigmatized," the statement reads in part. "This language change within state law will reduce stigma against people involved in the criminal justice system and therefore eliminate barriers to opportunities that they face."

Hochul also added that "[b]y 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."

Democratic state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who sponsored the legislation, agreed.

"For too long, we as a society have thought of incarcerated individuals as less than people," Gustavo said. "The use of the word ‘inmate’ further dehumanizes and demoralizes them. This is another concrete step our State is taking to make our criminal justice system one that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than relying solely on punishment."

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually signed the legislation making the language change last summer. However, due to legal technicalities, the law had to be re-signed in the 2021-2022 legislative session, according to WYRK.

While Cuomo, Rivera, Hochul, and other New York officials appear optimistic that the change in language will dramatically alter the self-esteem of convicted criminals, it is unlikely to alter the wave of violent crime in New York City or the depleted morale of the NYPD who have been charged with combating it.

Fox 5 NY reports that violent crime on NYC subways last month was up 57% over July 2021. Meanwhile, big city police departments are struggling to attract new recruits and retain those already on staff.

"We’re getting more calls for service and there are fewer people to answer them,” said Philadelphia police spokesperson Eric Gripp. “This isn’t just an issue in Philadelphia. Departments all over are down and recruitment has been difficult."

Still, Gov. Hochul remains confident that the new law "correcting outdated terminology" will mitigate the "harmful stigma against incarcerated people."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →