Violent Criminal Offenders Are Now ‘Justice-Impacted Individuals’

EJ_Rodriquez. Getty Images. Interior of abandoned prison in Illinois, USA.
EJ_Rodriquez. Getty Images.

A couple of months ago, in March, a 37-year-old man named Crosetti Brand was released on parole in the state of Illinois. He had been locked up on a charge of home invasion and sentenced to more than a decade in prison, but the state’s prisoner review board decided to let him out early with electronic monitoring.

What happened next was predictable. Just a day after he got out of prison, Chicago police say Crosetti attacked a pregnant woman and her 11-year-old boy, killing the child and critically injuring his mother. According to court documents, the last time he was on parole, Crosetti had threatened the same woman by text message and showed up at her home. But none of Crosetti’s criminal history, including his alleged threats, were enough to keep him in prison. And his ankle monitor apparently wasn’t much of a deterrent when he got out. Now, authorities say, a child is dead as a result.

This is clearly a massive failure of the judicial system in Illinois — which, particularly post-BLM, has focused more on “rehabilitation” instead of punishment. It’s the kind of episode that you’d hope would spur lawmakers in Illinois to pass new laws to rein in their approach of “restorative justice.”

But the Illinois government has opted for a very different response. Instead of doing something to prevent violent criminals from getting out of prison, state lawmakers have decided on a course of action that’s ripped straight from a Babylon Bee article. 

A new bill that was just passed by both houses of the Illinois legislature — and which is expected to be signed by the governor — will modify state law so that the term “offender” becomes “justice-impacted individual.” The Department of Corrections and a bunch of other government agencies will be required to use that term. So the plan is not to do anything about the criminals who are getting out of prison. It’s to use a nicer word to describe these criminals. Don’t call them “offenders,” call them “justice-impacted individuals.” 

I had to check several times to make sure this wasn’t satire, because it’s quite literally beyond parody. Actually, if the Babylon Bee did this, I wouldn’t find it very funny because it would be too on the nose. But it’s reality now in Illinois. This is their cutting-edge approach to criminal justice. Watch:

Before the fact-checkers jump down my throat, I’ll emphasize one thing, which is that this rebrand doesn’t apply to everyone who commits crimes in the state of Illinois. Instead, this new term applies only to men and women in the state’s “Adult Redeploy Illinois” program, or ARI. According to the government of McLean County, Illinois, the ARI program provides for “comprehensive daily supervision” of dozens of “high-risk adult felons as an alternative to costly penitentiary commitment.”

So they’re not rebranding every criminal as a “justice-impacted individual.” They’re only rebranding some “high-risk adult felons” who otherwise would be in prison. If you’re living in Chicago, hopefully you can rest easy tonight with that distinction in mind.

WATCH: The Matt Walsh Show

The point of the word game here is the same as always: first, it removes agency from the individual by making terminology as passive as possible. An offender is not an offender anymore, because offending is something that a person actively does. It puts the onus on the individual. Instead they are “justice impacted.” They were impacted by justice. It’s not their fault. Justice just came alone and impacted them. They’re the victims here, if anything. And second, it helps identify the people in your club. They’re the ones who know about these lingo changes and follow the rules. It’s not much different from a child who sets up a pillow fort and won’t let you inside it unless you know the password, which changes randomly and on a whim.

If you go looking online for the term “justice-impacted individual,” you’ll find that it’s popular among Harvard podcasters, billionaire Left-wing activists, and giant Silicon Valley corporations like Google. These are people and organizations that, conveniently enough, have distanced themselves as much as possible from communities where crime is high. They don’t want anything to do with “justice-impacted individuals,” but they want you to have to live near them and treat them with respect.

Of course, no one in the real world uses terms like “justice-impacted individuals,” which is precisely the point. If you go around saying the words “justice-impacted individual,” then you’re instantly communicating where you stand on the political spectrum. And perhaps more importantly, people who don’t use these new terms are instantly identifiable as outcasts — as racists and terrible people. Every so often, wealthy elites and academics come up with new ways to provide these kinds of signals, and then they inevitably filter down to activists and government bureaucrats, which is what’s happening now in Illinois.

There was an episode during the Canadian trucker convoy a couple of years ago that illustrates how this strategy works in practice. The truckers who gathered in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa were exactly the kind of blue-collar workers that liberals pretend to care about. But in this case, the blue-collar workers were protesting for autonomy from their government, so they had to be crushed. It was vitally important for liberals to smear these truckers as racist. And one of the ways the liberals did that was by criticizing the truckers for using the wrong lingo.

This is a clip from a Fox interview that Leftists mocked relentlessly during the convoy. Watch:

This is a Romanian trucker who clearly speaks English as a second language. And he’s explaining on primetime television that he’s not racist because he has a bunch of “colored friends.”

Logically, there’s no difference whatsoever between saying “I have colored friends” and “I have friends who are people of color.” It’s just a slight grammatical difference that means absolutely nothing. If anything, the latter sentence is unnecessarily wordy. Otherwise, they’re the same statements. If a person can be “of color” then it is accurate to say that the person is “colored.” A person of color is a colored person. But your intellectual superiors have decided that “people of color” is the only phrase you’re allowed to use. Say “colored people” and — unless you’re the NAACP — you’re a bigot. So they vilified this trucker all over social media, both here and in Canada.

This is one of the main reasons that cutting-edge P.C. lingo exists. It’s why you’re supposed to say “people experiencing homelessness,” instead of “homeless drug addict.” It’s why you’re supposed to say “minor attracted person” instead of “pedophile.” And it’s why, if at all possible, you’re supposed to employ clever euphemisms to describe criminals who happen to be black.

The New York Post is particularly adept at this trick, to the point that it’s become a running joke online (and presumably, in the Post’s newsroom). Among the euphemisms that the New York Post has come up with to describe black suspects are: “cold-hearted teens,” “knife-wielding sicko,” “misogynistic maniac,” and my personal favorite, “Lunchtime rowdies.”

Just in case there was any doubt that the Post is doing this deliberately, here’s a passage from that article on “lunchtime rowdies.” See if you can count all the euphemisms: “A band of foul-mouthed, toy gun-waving, pot-puffing high school hooligans are keeping residents of West 13th off 6th Avenue hostage in their own tony homes. … For at least a year while school is in session, the roughnecks roam from stoop to stoop every day at lunchtime, rolling blunts, getting high, acting out and taunting anyone who gets in their way.”

With terms like “hooligans,” “roughnecks,” and “lunchtime rowdies,” you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an article from a small town newspaper somewhere out in the wild west in the year 1873. My only hope is that in the next Post article they can work in the terms “ruffian” and “scoundrel.” In any case, you can read the whole article, and you won’t find any mention in the text about the ethnicity of these “lunchtime rowdies” and “pot-puffing hooligans.” But if a white person is causing problems, the Post will generally put the race in the headline.

For example, one recent headline in the Post read, “Video shows black NYC partiers scatter for cover as white neighbor douses them with garden hose.”

There was no euphemism for the white guy. He wasn’t a “hose-toting scoundrel” or anything like that. He was just a “white neighbor.” And for what it’s worth, not all of the people he hit with the water were black. The Post went out of its way to mention the race of the white guy even when it was misleading to do so.

This isn’t specific to the New York Post. It’s the approach of most major media outlets. As the account DataHazard found, the race of white murderers is made clear in more than 90% of news articles. But with black murderers, race is only mentioned in 30% of the article — and when it does appear, it’s usually much lower down in the text of the article.

Journalists do this, in part, to signal that they’re true believers in principles of “restorative justice.” And in the process, they’re denying the agency of black offenders by holding them to a completely different standard. These criminals get additional protections in the media, even when they commit heinous crimes, solely on the basis of their skin color. Now the state of Illinois is doing the same thing. It’s almost as if they hired the New York Post euphemism guy to write their legislation.

To give the Left some credit, they understand the role of language in shaping policy. In order to normalize crime and pedophilia, they first need to change the way people refer to crime and pedophilia. That effort is now underway in Illinois, which means many more “justice-impacted individuals” will soon be out on the streets. It also means that many more innocent people — including children and pregnant women —  will be impacted by these “justice-impacted individuals.” One euphemism at a time, in Democrat-run cities all over the country, it’s pretty clear that’s the point.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Violent Criminal Offenders Are Now ‘Justice-Impacted Individuals’