Illinois Lawmakers Want to Change Term for ‘Offender’ to This

According to the left, if you use the term “offender” to characterize a criminal, you are, ironically, offensive. Therefore, you’re an offender. It’s just another in a series of illogical paradoxes created by progressives.

In an ongoing attempt to modernize terminology in Illinois state law, politicians are advocating for the replacement of the word “offender” with “justice-impacted individual” when referring to someone with a criminal conviction. 

House Bill 4409 has sparked heated debates amongst Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the state. Many individuals took to social media to express their outrage at the planned move.

The law would be narrowly tailored to a single rehabilitation program with the goal of keeping formerly incarcerated individuals out of jail.

After passing the House in April—also controlled by Democrats—House Bill 4409—which included the wording change—was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, 34-20. People who are in favor of the new terminology see it as an effort to eradicate the shame associated with being referred to in legal documents as an “offender,” a label that may cling to a person regardless of how much they’ve improved their behavior. For Republicans and many average Illinois Democrats, this was just further proof that the state was being too lenient on crime since it was reluctant to even label a criminal as such.

For those participating in the “Adult Redeploy Illinois” program, often known as A.R.I., the phrase “offender” would be replaced with “justice-impacted individual” under House Bill 4409.

During a meeting on Wednesday, Republican state senator Terri Bryant voiced her disapproval of the planned change, citing the high cost to taxpayers due to linguistic changes made by government agencies. 

Democratic State Senator Robert Peters argued in favor of the rebranding, citing the expansion of the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services, adult probation in Sangamon and Cook counties, and the inclusion of two members with personal experiences in the ARI system, either as offenders or people affected by the justice system. By stating that the language used means someone who the criminal justice system has impacted is an individual, Peters emphasized the crucial importance of language in rehabilitation results.

The measure is now on its way to the governor for his approval after passing the Senate and House.