The city’s Board of Supervisors have adopted new “person first” language guidelines meant to “change the public’s perception of criminals.”
Someone previously called a “criminal” will now be referred to as “a returning resident,” or “a formerly incarcerated person.”
Supervisor Matt Haney says their intent is to keep people from being “forever labeled for the worst things that they have done. We want them, ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”
Rather than acknowledge that someone is "on parole," the city will now describe that person as simply "under supervision."
People who were once called "substance abusers" or "drug addicts" are now to be called people "with a history of substance use."
And a "juvenile delinquent" is now to be referred to as either a "young person with justice system involvement" or a "young person impacted by the juvenile justice system."
The resolution insists that the old terms "only serve to obstruct and separate people from society and make the institutionalization of racism and supremacy appear normal."
The San Francisco Chronicle mocks the resolution, pointing out that it “makes no mention of terms for victims of crime, but using the new terminology someone whose car has been broken into could well be: “A person who has come in contact with a returning resident who was involved with the justice system and who is currently under supervision with a history of substance use.” In other words, someone whose car was broken into by a recently released offender, on parole with a drug problem.”