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Old 10-27-2016, 11:32 AM
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Default The Language Letter Campaign

This is so important and so often overlooked or brushed aside out of convenience. You may notice a little bristle or cringe when people refer to their loved one as "my inmate". This is why-- language matters. It matters not only in the way we view ourselves, but the way society receives us. If you want to be seen as a felon, refer to yourself as a felon. If you want to be seen as a person first, change your language.

The Language Letter Campaign is an effort to ask media to shift their language to people-centered vocabulary. They have provided a letter that can be circulated to local publications asking that they be cognizant of the language they use. I won't print the letter in its entirety, but you can follow this link to read the remaining portion.

One of our first initiatives is to respond to the negative public perception about our population as expressed in the language and concepts used to describe us. When we are not called mad dogs, animals, predators, offenders and other derogatory terms, we are referred to as inmates, convicts, prisoners and felons—all terms devoid of humanness which identify us as “things” rather than as people. [...]

[...]The worst part of repeatedly hearing your negative definition of me, is that I begin to believe it myself “for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It follows then, that calling me inmate, convict, prisoner, felon, or offender indicates a lack of understanding of who I am, but more importantly what I can be. I can be and am much more than an “ex-con,” or an “ex-offender,” or an “ex-felon.”
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:00 AM
GaReform GaReform is offline
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I have become involved in criminal justice reform & in May 2015 I attended the Southern Seminar on Fair Hiring in Atlanta. It was designed to address the issue of people with convictions & their inability to get a job because of their background. One of the things that was stressed in the beginning of the seminar is people should not be called Felons, Convicts, or Offenders. They used the term "returning citizens" to describe those people being released after serving their sentences.

I agree that there needs to be a new word to use that preserves the human dignity our loved ones have lost. The term "felon" is an outdated & horrible term. Here is what I found as a possible source of the word.
felon- c.1300, from O.Fr. felon "evil-doer, scoundrel, traitor, rebel, the Devil," from M.L. fellonem "evil-doer," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Frank.

Here's something that gives us hope- http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...felon-convict/
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:12 PM
msr1978 msr1978 is offline
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I agree. I think sometimes people use the term not knowing what else to say. I'd be happy to have another label for lack of a better word.
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Old 02-19-2017, 07:45 PM
onparoleinTO onparoleinTO is offline

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The John Howard Society in Canada recommends the word 'prisoner' - since this is literally what people in jail are, and makes no reference to anyone's responsibility. So you might try that.
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