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WA: State corrections agency right to retire the word ‘offender’ (Editorial)

Words matter because the meaning that we give words matters even more. This is especially true of the words we use to describe each other, which is why it’s useful to have a discussion about the words we use to refer to those who have committed crimes, those who are currently incarcerated or are otherwise serving their sentences and those who have rejoined society at large.

And it’s why a recent decision by the state Department of Corrections to phase-out the use of the term “offender” in written policies and daily use shouldn’t be disregarded as another instance of “political correctness.” …

Morgan’s change in state policy, which will be continued by Jody Becker-Green, the deputy corrections secretary who will become acting secretary of corrections on Friday, does not affect the use of the term for those convicted of sexual crimes. The term “registered sexual offender” is codified in state law and will remain in use.

One objection to the more general use of “offender” is that in the public’s mind the word has become closely linked to the term “sexual offender.”

That, in itself, might be a good argument to reserve the term for sexual offenses. State law has identified the need to require the registration of those who have committed sexual offenses and, after serving their time, are released into public life. Overuse of the term “offender” in a general sense could weaken its impact where we need it to identify sexual offenders. Full Editorial

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this is incredulous just more discrimination against people with an exponentially lower recidivism rate than any other group besides murderers…

Wow.

There is no reason to treat a person convicted of a s*x offense any differently than a person convicted of any other serious offense.

We must identify people who say “s*x offender” or support the S*x Offender Registries and harm them by any means that is legal. As often as possible, in any way. Those people are not Americans.

“Registered s*xual offender” is technically correct and grudgingly acceptable. “S*x offender” and “offender” are not acceptable.

“Registered S_xual Offender” is NOT acceptable. “Former S_x Offender” is acceptable. Get your head on straight!

If your offense has been expunged by the court where you where convicted why must we still register for any reason, is this double jeopardy ?

Good point! This could open a whole can of worms! What if you where convicted and your offense expunged? Your no longer convicted of anything per the law? So, what are you? Ie: registered ex offender? Think about it!

They would call them “perverts” if they could. Oh, wait.. they already do behind closed doors.

I did not see a way to comment on the editorial. I wrote a letter to the editors however and sent it to letters@heraldnet.com and CCed newstips@heraldnet.com. The letter was far too long for them to consider publishing. I also did not include my name or anything else they require. Perhaps I could/should pare this down so it would be considered? Meh, not today. This is the letter: Editors: I read your 1/17/17 editorial titled, “Editorial: State corrections agency right to retire the word ‘offender’”. You are correct to agree with that retirement. However, your explanation regarding the continued use… Read more »

Re; “Someone should coin something better.”

How about “Former S_xual Offender”? Your crime happened in the past, right? Calling someone a “Registered S_x Offender” sounds like it’s an ongoing thing. Like you can’t wait to do it again! Let’s all get behind the term “Former S_xual Offender”.

What is more damaging is the phrase ‘known sex offender’. I see it being used more and more by those who want to put more restrictions on registrants. The phrase seems to be a calculated dismissal to fact that nine out of ten new offenses are created by those not on the registry.

Does anyone know if anyone has ever successfully gained any traction in restoration of rights by arguing with the “equal protection” clause when relating to unequal application of laws?

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