New York to scrap ‘inmate’ in favor of ‘incarcerated individual’ in state law

New York state law will no longer refer to prisoners as “inmates” and will instead call them “incarcerated individuals,” according to a new law.

Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the legislation Monday. She argues that removing the term “inmate” will help to “reduce harmful stigma against incarcerated people by correcting outdated terminology.”

“In New York, we’re doing everything in our power to show that justice and safety can go hand-in-hand,” Hochul said.

“We can make our streets and communities safer by giving justice-involved individuals the chance to complete their rehabilitation program and work at the same time. By 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,” she added.

Democratic state Sen. Gustavo Rivera sponsored the legislation through the New York State legislature, according to Rochester First. 

“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.”

The New York law is the latest example of a trend among Democrats to adjust current terminology. Prorgessive Democrats like Rep. Cori Bush, D-MO, have also pushed toward referring to mothers and women as “birthing people.”

“When we talk about birthing people, we’re being inclusive. It’s that simple. We use gender-neutral language when talking about pregnancy, because it’s not just cis-gender women that can get pregnant and give birth. Reproductive freedom is for *every* body,” the pro-abortion group NARAL wrote earlier this year.

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