New York Makes Changes to State Prison System
According to a press release from Governor Kathy Hochul's office, New York has made changes to protocols in the state prison system and the terminology used.
After the signing of the legislative package, people in the state prison system will now be referred to as "incarcerated individuals" rather than "inmates." This was done in an effort to minimize the dehumanization reported by individuals impacted by the criminal justice system.
Additionally, parolees can now attend community supervision programs like substance abuse treatment during non-working hours. This will allow those individuals to maintain their jobs or education programs while still receiving the rehabilitative help they may need. Previously, many of those programs were offered during regular business hours, making it difficult for parolees to attend those programs while also keeping their work or school schedule.
In her press release, Governor Hochul stated "In New York, we're doing everything in our power to show that justice and safety can go hand-in-hand. 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."
"Language matters," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I am proud that my bill to replace all references of the word inmate with incarcerated individual in New York State law has been signed today by Governor Hochul. For too long, we as a society have thought of incarcerated individuals as less than people. The use of the word "inmate" further dehumanizes and demoralizes them."