Out of ‘respect’ to humanity, Dem sheriff in Wisconsin to call jail inmates ‘residents’

The language police and the real police have seemingly joined forces in the super-woke Madison, Wisc., area.

Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, a Democrat who is seeking reelection in 2022, has announced that those incarcerated in the Dane County jail will now be described as “residents” or “those in our care” rather than “inmates” because negative, stigmatizing terminology poses barriers to their societal reentry.

“I view this change in name as a way to humanize those who are within our care,” the lawman explained at a presser, according to WIS News 10. “The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is a national leader in appropriate progressive reform, and many follow our lead,” he added.

He also opined that “words matter” as he moves “towards a 21st-century policing mindset in which we treat everyone within our community with dignity, respect, and humanity,” Madison 360 reported.

The sheriff  “said he came to the decision after talking with those who are incarcerated, sheriff’s deputies and other staff over his last nearly 100 days as sheriff,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported:

Barrett said he met with a group of formerly incarcerated individuals who are part of a program at Madison nonprofit Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, which helps former offenders reenter the community and provides other services. They told him that being called “inmates” or “convicts” increases stigma against them and worsens the barriers they face while transitioning back into society.

The language change is a “small step” to reduce those barriers, and hopefully help reduce recidivism, Barrett said. When asked how one word could help reduce recidivism, Barrett said language can help change how incarcerated people view themselves and how society views them.


Wisconsin’s Democrat Gov. Tony Evers appointed Barrett to the job in April 2021 upon the retirement of the longtime incumbent.

Democrat State Rep. Sheila Stubbs added that changing the terminology would give people “a sense of belonging.”

Watch a local news report about the sheriff’s decision embedded below:

Sheriff Barrett claimed that the revised nomenclature is not mandatory for deputies and other staffers, at least for now, but common sense suggests how this is going to go in day-to-day practice. “He said the county is working on making the change an official policy.”

America has seen certain rogue prosecutors railroad some individuals into jail on flimsy charges and without due process. It seems fair to say, however, that most inmates, convicts, or residents have adopted crime as a lifestyle choice rather than as a one-off, and that’s why they’ve wound up locked up.

Along these lines, influential George Washington University law professor and self-described liberal Jonathan Turley noted, “I have worked in prisons and jail for three decades, including running a national prisoner project. I am not convinced that calling inmates ‘residents’ will lend a ‘sense of belonging.’ Moreover, the asserted goal of reducing the ‘stigma’ of prison is somewhat counterintuitive since it is a form of isolation from and punishment by society.”

Turley also pointed out that the etymology of inmate involves a shared residence of various kinds.

Particularly in the last year, many changes to vocabulary have gone into implementation as bureaucracies across the culture seem to worship at the altar of political correctness and, in so doing, elevate obfuscating words over deeds.

In the law enforcement arena, even though the term “illegal alien” is a term in the U.S. Code, the Biden administration wants government employees to use descriptors such as “non-citizen,” “migrant,” or “undocumented individual” instead. Separately, DEA agents have been ordered to refrain from using the term “Mexican cartel.”

The Wisconsin Right Now website has irreverently proposed seven other name changes for the sheriff to consider:

  • Call the Jail the ‘Dane County Residence Inn’
  • Name Sheriff Kalvin Barrett the ‘Property Manager’ & the Sheriff’s Department the ‘Dane County Leasing Office’
  • Change the Word ‘Bail’ to Security Deposit
  • Inmate Release? Nah, ‘Check Out Time’
  • Exercise Time? It’s spa time at the Dane County Residence Inn!
  • Correctional Guards or Jailers? Call them camp counselors
  • Sentencing Sounds Pretty Harsh. How About, Lease Agreement or Reservation?

On Twitter, the sheriff is getting busted, as it were, for virtue signaling. Here is a sampling:


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