Wisconsin sheriff says those in jail will no longer be called ‘inmates’ changing word to ‘residents’
Dane County Jail in Wisconsin will no longer call people “inmates” and start referring to them as “residents” in an effort to “humanize and respect” the criminals.
“This proactive approach to our criminal justice reform is going to allow us to move towards a 21st century policing mindset in which we treat everyone within our community with dignity, respect, and humanity,” said Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett.
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“Changing the name of inmate to resident gives them a sense of belonging,” said Sheila Stubbs, Dane County Supervisor.
The Dane County Sheriff’s website was also updated to read “the largest peace officer agency in Dane County,” a change from “the largest law enforcement organization in Dane County.”
“As we serve, we want to maintain dignity and respect for all who are involved in our criminal justice system,” Barrett said in a statement.
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Barrett has also decided to change the name of the county’s law enforcement officers to “peace officers.”
“The title we go by and how we view ourselves matters how we carry out the duties of our position,” Barrett said. “When I mean peace officer, I mean that is exactly what my goal. My philosophy and my vision is: We are there to keep the peace.”
“Our mission is to ensure and maintain the peace in our communities, jails and courts, that is our ultimate goal,” he added.
“It really comes down to just the mindset and philosophy about keeping the peace first and not necessarily falling back into, I have to enforce, I have to arrest or write tickets in order to have the same effective outcome of crime reduction and reducing recidivism,” he continued.
Barrett says other police departments across the county are following his lead.
“As your sheriff, I believe our philosophies, policies and practices should be proactive and not reactionary like many other areas of our criminal justice system,” Barrett said. “The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is a national leader in appropriate progressive reform, and many follow our lead.”