What’s in a Name?
Exconvict, formerly incarcerated, or returning citizen?
by Jeffrey Ian Ross
In the field of corrections, there are lots of labels, names, and terms that the public frequently applies to people who are housed in, live in, and are processed by jails and prison that I dislike.
These terms are frequently used in a simplistic and dehumanizing manner. Take for example, the word offender. I think we can agree that many of things that people who are convicted did were offensive, but not all actions that they may have engaged in rise to this label, and as we know, some people who are incarcerated are wrongfully convicted.
But when it comes time to choose the appropriate names for someone who is locked up in or released from a carceral setting, a sufficient amount of nuance must be observed. Among people who are incarcerated in the United States, they differentiate among the labels prisoners, inmates, and convicts. Each term means something different to them, however, this is a different discussion.
But the current tendency to use the expressions or terms formerly incarcerated or returning citizens, by well-meaning activists and academics, people working in the field of restorative justice, or worse the perpetual ...