If you are beaten and robbed by somebody with a criminal record, will your plight be less traumatic if you think of the attacker as a “justice-involved person” rather than a convicted felon?
San Francisco, where the crime rate is high, is softening the language used to describe those who break society’s laws:
Crime-ridden San Francisco has introduced new sanitized language for criminals, getting rid of words such as “offender” and “addict” while changing “convicted felon” to “justice-involved person.”
The Board of Supervisors adopted the changes last month even as the city reels from one of the highest crime rates in the country and staggering inequality exemplified by pervasive homelessness alongside Silicon Valley wealth.
The local officials say the new language will help change people’s views about those who commit crimes.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, from now on a convicted felon or an offender released from custody will be known as a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person or just a “returning resident.”
A juvenile “delinquent” will now be called a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”
“Returning resident” is my personal favorite.
And please don’t say that this adoption of misleading euphemisms spares us from making value judgements. It doesn’t.
It simply says that in San Francisco law abiding citizenship is no longer valued.
Euphemisms don’t change reality.
It will be just as dangerous to be attacked by a "justice-involved person" as a felon.