In what can only be called a case of political correctness out of control, Jay Inslee’s appointee running the Department of Corrections “plans to stop referring to the men and women serving time behind bars as ‘offenders.’ Acting Corrections Secretary Dick Morgan told agency employees in a memo Tuesday the word will be replaced in policies and programs with terms such as ‘individuals,’ ‘students’ or ‘patients’ depending on the circumstances.”
Nor is this trend towards ignoring that people in prison are there for a reason – that they broke the law, and are by definition “offenders” against society – confined just to Washington State. As The Herald reported, “U.S. Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason announced in May the federal Office of Justice Programs would no longer refer to released prisoners as ‘felon’ or ‘convict.’ Instead, terms like ‘person who committed a crime’ or ‘individual who was incarcerated’ would be used.
As seems to be typical when people in his administration do something he doesn’t want to take any responsibility for, Jay Inslee was off driving his bulldozer or something, and hadn’t been bothered yet by his staff. According to a spokesperson, “senior staff for Gov. Jay Inslee were made aware of the change but the governor had not been briefed as of Thursday.”
The memo had not escaped the eyes of those who work with the victims of crimes. The Herald noted that “Marge Fairweather is executive director of the Everett-based Victim Support Services. Founded in 1975, the nonprofit is the oldest victim advocacy agency in the state. She takes exception to language in the memo in which the corrections secretary used the term “people in our care” to describe inmates. ‘Are they really in your care or are they in your custody?’ she said. ‘It seems they are trying to soften the impact of what the individual has done.’
Maybe now that fundraising season is slowing down for our “green” governor, when he gets back to the office he could get briefed on this and let the public know his thoughts.