Choose Your Words Carefully, Language Matters

Choose Your Words Carefully, Language Matters

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You've heard that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…” But the truth is that language matters. And words can have a lasting impact.

It can cause a person to internalize a label. Even worse, it can perpetuate a cycle that continues to model how that person has been labeled.

The Securus Foundation seeks to educate and change the narrative regarding people who are “Justice Involved” {those formally incarcerated} in a manner that equips the larger community, state representatives and media outlets to refine their language in a manner of optimism, acceptance, hope and possibility. Won’t you help?

Here's what you're promising: 

  • I pledge to make an intentional effort to raise awareness on why language matters within my community
  • I pledge to use humanizing language when conversing with or describing justice-involved individuals with my family, community, workplace and social media
  • I pledge to discontinue use of the following dehumanizing language:
    Inmate/Ex-Inmate, Convict/Ex-Con/Ex-Convict, Offender/Ex-Offender, Felon/Ex-Felon
  • I pledge to use the following humanizing language:
    People, Men/Women/Boys/Girls, Justice-Involved, Resident, Returning Citizen/Returned Citizen/Restored Citizen, Formerly Incarcerated

By signing this petition you are committing to remember there are people on the other end of those labels, and you instead will choose your words carefully. Once you’ve signed the petition, please help us spread the word... and spark a change.

Visit The Securus Foundation website to learn much more.