According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, New York state law will no longer refer to prisoners as “inmates” and will instead call them “incarcerated individuals”.
Governor Hochul signed the legislation on Monday. She argues that removing the term “inmate” will help to reduce harmful stigma against incarcerated people by correcting outdated terminology. “In New York, we’re doing everything in our power to show that justice and safety can go hand-in-hand,” Hochul 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 they have a fair shot at a second chance,” she added.
When asking Sheriff Devlin about renaming “inmates”, he said he wasn’t concerned. “It seems like we have a lot of other issues we should be dealing with right now rather than renaming “inmates” What we call them doesn’t seem relevant; we have crime issues now that need to be addressed,” Sheriff Devlin said.
“We need to focus our energy on the issues that will make a difference here in our county. The rise in crime right now is what is important, and our availability to respond.
“We don’t have enough manpower and staffing and we are down 20 positions in the jail. The criminal population still comes in and we are having to board the inmates out.
That means we have to send them to other jails and that’s expensive,” he said. That costs taxpayers a lot of money to send inmates to other jails.
“With the bail reform, everyone is calling for modifications. We all know it’s a revolving door with these criminals, it is what it is and it’s not easy,” the Sheriff said.
“The county is at a crossroads, we either need to put $34 million into the existing building or look at a new building. A decision needs to be made as to which way will go in the future,” he said.
Otsego County is facing a lot of challenges right now and recruitment and retention is an issue.
“The anti-police sentiment is a challenge but we keep moving forward for our constituents. That’s what is important, keeping all of us safe,” the sheriff said. “We are in contract negations right now and how that ends will say a lot for the future” he said.
“We are doing the best job we can right now, changing what we call our inmates isn’t a priority for us.”