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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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  1. mike r iscensored

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

  2. FRegistryTerrorists

    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.

    • Rodger Dodger

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

    • BA

      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 ?

  3. USA

    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!

  4. LM

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

  5. FRegistryTerrorists

    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 of the term “registered s*xual offender” was quite wrong. It is true that if the term is codified is law, it would be difficult, and even inaccurate in many cases, to not use the term. But your other reasoning regarding its use is bizarre and couldn’t be more wrong.

    The worse part of your reasoning was when you said, “Overuse of the term “offender” in a general sense could weaken its impact where we need it to identify sexual offenders.” There is not ever any case “where we need it”. It hard to comprehend that you even said that given the rest of the editorial.

    You seem to be saying that “offender” is a problem for everyone except it’s an acceptable problem for anyone convicted of a crime that involved s*x. You also seem to be perpetuating the complete lie and propaganda that s*x crimes are somehow worse than just about any other crime. Obviously, there are many, many categories of s*x crimes that are not nearly as dangerous, for certain, nor as impactful, as so many other crimes that do not involve s*x. The intelligent people in the U.S. need to stop placating everyone else and ignoring those facts and reality. I mean really, is looking at the wrong pictures in your home actually more dangerous than shooting someone with a gun? There is no one with a brain who agrees with that.

    All that aside, there does need to be a term that can be used to refer to people who are listed on a Nanny Big Government (NBG) S*x Offender Registry (SOR). “registered s*xual offender” is technically correct but it should not be used in common usage because people in the U.S. have taken that as a label for who/what a person is. And that clearly is wrong and un-American.

    The term “s*x offender” is clearly inaccurate, lazy, un-American, and likely hateful. Any person who uses that term can freely be called any name that reflects any behavior that they have done in the past. Likely anyone of those people could just as accurately be called “liar” for the rest of their lives. Whatever names fit them at any time, they can be called all of them for the rest of their lives.

    I know many people like to use the term “Registered Citizen”. That is good but it is too generic if a person needs to describe exactly which NBG Registry that a citizen is listed on. I have used the term “Person Registered for Harassment, Restrictions, and Punishment”. I like that term because it does capture the true raison d’etre and reality of the SORs. Its acronym is also a palindrome. But that term is also generic.

    So what would be the best term? I expect “Person who is listed on a S*x Offender Registry” is likely the best. A bit unwieldy though. Someone should coin something better.

    Lastly, there are no legitimate excuses that the U.S. has SORs and does not Register hundreds of other categories of crimes in exactly the same way, along with all the same useless, un-American BS that goes with it. We know that the SORs are not really for “public safety”, “protecting children”, or any of those other lies. Which is why that, even though the SORs are already quite naturally counterproductive, as all experts said they would be, everyone should do anything possible to ensure that they are even more counterproductive. Not just worthless, but worse-than-worthless. Further, everyone that is negatively affected by the SORs should be retaliating for their mere existence every single day.

    Since the people who support the SORs love to label people and call them names, I have names for those people. Two of them are “Un-Americans” and “Registry Terrorists”. Those people are not my fellow U.S. citizens and I need not have any concern for them. God divide the U.S.A. Amen.

    • Rodger Dodger

      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”.

  6. Timmr

    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.

  7. Nicholas Maietta

    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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