Illinois Dems Plan To Change The Term ‘Offender’ For ‘Justice-Impacted Individual’

Democrats in Illinois are working on a bill that will change the description of criminals in state laws and codes. According to House Bill 4409, the word “offender” will be thrown away for the term “justice-impacted individual.”

The proposal seeks changes to Adult Redeploy Illinois, a program that supports convicts and helps them get into halfway houses and escape jail time.

The bill’s attempt to end the use of the word “offender” to refer to criminals in the state laws and codes earned it criticism, with Republicans in the state legislature publicly deriding the ideas as soft on crime and budget-busting.

“Over and over again, we keep changing the name of how we are referring to those who have entered into criminal activity and each time we make that change, each agency has to make that change on every one of their documents,” Sen. Terri Bryan (R-IL) said, per the Washington Examiner.

“Right now in the Department of Corrections, there’s multiple changes that have been made and it’s costing thousands and thousands of dollars just to do a name change. Why is it necessary to make the name change?” he added.

For Sen. Steve McClure (R-IL), the legislation would help criminals escape “accountability” and would be an injustice to the victims of crime.

“There seems to be this rush to take away all accountability for people who commit crimes. If a person is going to get on the right path, they have to know they did something wrong. This apologizing for the criminal, the person who chooses to commit crimes to the detriment of our victims, the people who don’t choose to be victims of crimes, is absolutely incredible,” McClure stated.

The controversy around the legislation got Democrats to attempt to justify the change of terms, with Sen. Robert Peters (D-IL), who is one of the sponsors of the bill, claiming that there is no need to get “hung up “ on wordplay.

“This is good public safety policy. I know we’re getting hung up on a term, but I don’t want to lose sight that we are adding the department of corrections to this bill,” Peters stated, according to WGN-TV.

“We’re adding the DOC, adding Human Services, Sangamon and Cook County adult probation and two members who have experienced the ARI system as offenders or as justice-impacted individuals,” the Democrat state senator stated, per the Washington Examiner, adding, “We [in this bill] don’t mess with anything in regards to the term ‘victim,’ we just change the word ‘offender’ to ‘justice-impacted individual.’”

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