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Some Food for Thought: Prisoners Are Not Inmates

By Ojore Lutalo

[Ed. Note: Readers will note that PLN rarely refers to prisoners as "inmates" or "residents." We usually change any such terms to "prisoners" when we reprint pieces or publish articles. Ojore, a New Afrikan political prisoner, explains the reasoning behind this].

The vast majority of prisoners (especially politically conscious prisoners) resent being referred to as "inmates" because we are being detained as prisoners, which means against our will! The word "inmate" is used mostly by prison functionaries, attorneys (not progressive attorneys) and whoever else is employed in the so-called field of correction.

It's very important to acknowledge how languages become sterilized and de-radicalized and that soon, the warders (including some of the prisoners themselves) could be referring to the prisoners as "residents" as if we were on vacation or something else in that regard!

Penologists control the prisons and it's their goal to distort the reality of prisons and prisoners by identifying prisons as "correctional facilities" as opposed to "prisons" and "penitentiaries," while identifying prisoners as "inmates" or "residents" as opposed to "prisoners" in their endeavors to lull the general public into thinking that conditions in captivity are humane and that the warders operating the prisons (spelt concentration camps) are caring human beings and the captive audience being detained (they use the word inmates) are being rehabilitated and not actually being punished as the supporters of the prisoners out there in the communities at large are asserting! Prison wardens are now referred to as superintendents or administrators as opposed to "wardens." Prison security guards are in fact referred to as "correction officers" as opposed to "security guards" because such titles sound more humane and less threatening.

Again, by giving prisons and prisoners a less radical label they, the functionaries who operate these concentration camps and their supporters, hope people out there in the communities at large will forget about all of the inhuman conditions of prisons.

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