San Francisco is currently in freefall when it comes to homelessness, drug addiction and crime. That much is fairly well established. But the Free Beacon reports that they’ve come up with a way to tackle the last of those three problems. People don’t like hearing about all of the felons roaming the streets, but rather than arresting them, how about we just call them something else? You know… like “justice-involved persons.”
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors proposed new language guidelines to re-shape the way people talk about those in the crime industry. Words such as “felon,” “offender,” and “convict” would be replaced by “person first” terminology. Under the proposal, a convicted criminal would be referred to as a “formerly incarcerated person,” or “justice-involved individual,” or even a “returning resident.”
The board’s resolution, which is non-binding, was approved last month. The district attorney has endorsed the measure, although the city’s mayor has not.
This is yet another example of trying to win the war of public opinion by controlling the language that’s used. Once you control the way people speak, you’re well on your way to changing how they think. Calling recently released convicts “returning residents” or “formerly justice-involved persons” is one way to get people to stop complaining about your city’s inability to get your crime problem under control.
In reality, not only are these changes absurd, but they’re not even accurate. Or at least too vague to be useful. A “justice-involved person” could also be a judge, a lawyer or a cop. A “returning resident” might be a child molester who is on the sex offender registry or somebody coming back from vacation. Don’t you think those are rather important distinctions if you’re a resident of the neighborhood?
We’ve seen too many examples of this in the past. This is the same principle behind the liberal push to refer to illegal aliens as “undocumented immigrants.” I suppose a person robbing a bank is simply making an undocumented withdrawal.
Homelessness, crime, mental illness and drug addiction are all problems that seem to exacerbate each other when they come into contact. The City by the Bay is currently watching all four of these factors spiral out of control and they seem powerless to do much about it. But one thing is for sure. Coming up with kinder and gentler ways to refer to criminals isn’t going to do anything to alleviate the problem.