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Colorado State Board drops term ‘sex offender’ as negative label – CBS Chicago

DENVER (KCNC-TV)– The way sex offenders are labeled is changing in Colorado. The board of directors that sets the state’s standards voted today to change the term “sex offenders” to reflect “person-first” language.

The Sex Offender Management Board, which is made up of everyone from public advocates to prosecutors, sets standards and guidelines for care providers, so the new terminology will only be used in this context. It does not change the term sex offender in the law or the criminal justice system, but some fear it is a step in that direction.

“I am involved today after hearing that it would be inappropriate or offensive of me to label the man who raped me as a sex offender,” Kimberly Corbin, a rape survivor, told KCNC-TV in Denver.

Corbin is among those who have spoken out against changing the term sex offender to something less stigmatizing, saying that trait-based labels that people can’t control is one thing. “It’s very, very damaging to those who are labeled when it comes to gender, race, sexuality, ability, but it’s not their choices, the most important thing to me is that it’s choices sex offenders make, ”she said. noted.

Derek Logue says he shouldn’t have to wear the tag for life: “Labeling myself for something I did half my life ago is inappropriate and downright offensive.

(credit: CBS)

He argued that “client” would be a better term.

Public defender Kathy Heffron agreed, “This takes into consideration the uniqueness of people who receive treatment. “

“Client” is one of the five options considered by the board.

Supporters of the terminology change argue that it will reduce recidivism. Opponents say this will only reduce liability, noting that victims and survivors live with their etiquette for life.

In the end, the council voted 10-6 to go with “adults who commit sexual offenses.”

“I think this strikes a balance that honors the impact on victims and recognizes the current and ongoing impacts of sexual assault, but also avoids the term labeling which has negative impacts on those who commit sexual offenses.”

Jessica Dotter, of Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, worries that change doesn’t end with the Sex Offender Management Board, “I’m concerned that using person-centered language is generally an intention to remove accountability. offenders and diminish the experience of victims “

Colorado State Board drops term ‘sex offender’ as negative label – CBS Chicago

(credit: CBS)

Last year, lawmakers considered a bill that would have, among other things, eliminated the term “sexually violent predator” from the laws, but ended up withdrawing it. Meanwhile, a sentencing reform task force is considering asking the legislature to change terms such as “accused”, “convicted” and “criminal” to “persons involved in justice.”

Ironically, the Sex Offender Management Board will not remove the term “sex offender” from its name because only the state legislature can change the name of the board.

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