ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A package of new legislation has been signed by Governor Hochul. One of the laws is changing the word inmate to incarcerated individual in New York State law. Some New York State lawmakers have said the word is outdated and dehumanizing.
“The term inmate is a derogatory term that follows a lot of them that were previously incarcerated. Just the connotation itself and the stigma that comes with it, I think something so simple as to change it can make a big difference in the confidence of people who want to get out of a life of crime,” stated New York State Senator, Luiz Sepulveda.
When it comes to state laws, the term incarcerated individual will be used consistently moving forward. This expands on similar legislation passed last year.
On Monday, Governor Hochul also signed law that aims to help parolees maintain their jobs or pursue education and training opportunities.
“They are required to take certain programs such as drug treatment programs, job placement programs, and a lot of times these programs were scheduled when the parolee was at work or at an education institution. Some of them would lose their jobs and it just made it very difficult. And our objective in the state should be to lower the recidivism rate.”
This new law would allow rehabilitation programs to take place during non-working hours such as nights and weekends.
“It’s a win-win for those who are released and on parole,” said Sepulveda. “It’s a win-win for the state because ultimately I think it will save hundreds of millions of dollars because it costs a lot of money to incarcerate someone, especially on parole violations.”
In a statement the governor said, “We can make our streets and communities safer by giving justice-involved individuals the chance to complete their rehabilitation program and work at the same time. By treating all New Yorkers with dignity and respect, we can improve public safety while ensuring New Yorkers have a fair shot at a second chance.”