Letters to the Editor: A crazy proposal to swap ‘convict’ for ‘formerly incarcerated’

San Francisco police
A San Francisco police car sits parked in front of the Hall of Justice in 2014.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

To the editor: Leave it to those madcap politicians in San Francisco to bring to life the words of the great Ben Jonson: “Language most shows a man: speak, that I may see thee.” (“No more ‘convicts’ or ‘felons’ if San Francisco passes criminal justice language proposal,” Aug. 22)

Boy, can we see them, in all their cockeyed, politically correct glory, trying so earnestly to play with language, to assure that the lowest common denominator drops like a rock.

Or, perhaps the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ proposal to stop using words like “felon” and “convict” in favor of “formerly incarcerated person” is just a joke. Are San Francisco’s leaders pulling wool over the eyes of us Southern California rubes?


No, that’s too much to hope for. When our cities have real problems to worry about, this sort of dithering is inexcusable.

Please, San Francisco, tell Los Angeles how you’ve dealt with homelessness and hunger in your city, so that we can do it too and have time left over for linguistic lunacy.

Carol Gwenn, West Hollywood


To the editor: Perhaps, rather than referring to convicts and felons as formerly incarcerated persons, you could include them along with parolees and juvenile delinquents under one label: “fine upstanding citizens.”

Unfortunately, however, whichever politically correct term is chosen, eventually everyone would figure out that you were referring to a bunch of criminals.

Scott McKenzie, La Cañada Flintridge



To the editor: I agree with the proposal’s statement that “language shapes the ideas, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and actions of individuals, societies and governments.” This why we appropriately label offenders with identifying descriptive words such as “felon,” “rapist” or “parolee.”

Law-abiding citizens want to know what kind of people we’re dealing with. We want to be able to perceive the truth.

San Francisco’s proposal is nothing but a blinder to attempt to hide the facts in this state’s continuing moral breakdown.

Dianne Marlin, Long Beach