Prisons

What’s In a Name?

It is a shame when everyone knows that there is a problem, but no one seems to know what to do about that problem. What do you do when a system is antiquated or downright broken, but no one is willing to do the things needed to fix or replace the system?

To give credit where it is due, President Obama and his administration have both admitted the problem and have sought to fix the problem. But unfortunately, their wrong thinking or money has blinded them to the real cure.

The Washington Times reports

The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs is eschewing the terms “felon” and “convict” when officials refer to individuals convicted of crimes, opting instead for less “disparaging labels,” Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason announced Wednesday.

The Office of Justice Programs plans to substitute terminology such as “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated” in speeches and other communications as part of an effort to remove barriers that officials say hinder progress of those who re-enter society after completing their prison sentences.

There is no doubt that there is an issue of re-assimilation for existing offenders. They face the difficulty of finding a job. They face the problem of housing. And most importantly they face the problem of paying their restitution. All of this hits them the day that they exit the prison system.

This is not even to mention the issue of old friends tempting them into criminal behavior, or the stigma they face from family and neighbors for the realization of their prior acts. They have even the possibility of meeting in public the victims of their previous lawlessness. But the one thing that they are not faced with is name calling.

Of all the problems these men and women are faced with, being called a felon is not one. In fact, this name change will do nothing more than make paperwork longer and mistakes more likely.

These people are not unable to stay out of jail because they feel sorry for themselves. They struggle with all the pressure of finding a job that pays enough to feed, clothe, house and pay their substantial legal expenses.

It is these pressures coupled with public opinion that hinders these people. If we allowed these people the dignity of paying their debt in a biblical manner and forgive them according to scripture, there would be no need for reentry into society.

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