New York has amended several state laws to remove the word “inmate” and replace it with “incarcerated person” to refer to people serving prison time. The changes, signed into law on August 8 by Gov. Kathy Hochul, are intended to reduce the stigma of being in jail. Prison reform advocates have said the term “inmate” has a dehumanizing effect. Prisoners say it can feel degrading when jail guards refer to them as inmates, especially in front of their families during in-person visits. “Language matters,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who sponsored the bill. “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.”
However, many are ridiculing the measure as coddling criminals, similar to the drastic bail reform laws.
“Parading around a bill that removes the word ‘inmate’ from legal materials at a time when crime in New York continues to spike at an alarming rate shows you a lot about how misguided the Democrats’ agenda is,” said Assemblymember Chris Tague, a Republican from Schoharie, a town west of Albany.
The change is the latest in the state legislature’s history of amending terms in state law that may be seen as outdated or offensive. Hochul said social justice and safety can go hand-in-hand. “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 said in a statement.
It is unclear what effect, if any, this change will have. The criminal defense lawyers at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins remain incredibly focused on insuring that our clients remain out of prison, and that they will avoid being referred by either name.
Source: Goshen News
Michael Jaccarino, and the criminal defense attorneys at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, PC, have decades of experience.
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