It is time for us all to embrace person-centred language for people in prison and people who were formerly in prison

Harney, Brendan L., Korchinski, Mo, Young, Pam, Scow, Marnie, Jack, Kathryn, Linsley, Paul, Bodkin, Claire, Brothers, Thomas D., Curtis, Michael, Higgs, Peter, Mead, Tania Sawicki, Hart, Aaron, Kilroy, Debbie, Bonn, Matthew and Bartlett, Sofia R. (2022) It is time for us all to embrace person-centred language for people in prison and people who were formerly in prison. International Journal of Drug Policy, 99. ISSN 0955-3959

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The use of person-centred language is well accepted regarding substance use and infectious disease healthcare and research, and appropriate acronyms have become commonplace, e.g., “people who inject drugs (PWID) ”has mostly replaced phrases like “injecting drugs users ”. However, the use of the term’s ‘prisoner’ or ‘prisoners’ remains common. Although less common, terms such as ‘offenders’ and ‘inmates’ are also still used on occasion. This persists despite calls from people with lived experience of incarceration, and fellow academics, to stop using these terms. Given the considerable overlap between substance use, infectious diseases, and incarceration, in this commentary we discuss how they interact, including the stigma that is common to each. We propose that using person-centred language (i.e., people in prison or people formerly in prison) needs to become the default language used when presenting research related to people in prison or people formerly in prison. This is a much- needed step in efforts to overcome the continued stigma that people in prison face while incarcerated from prison officers and other employees, including healthcare providers. Likewise, overcoming stigma, including legalised discrimination, that follows people who were formerly in prison upon gaining their freedom is critical, as this impacts their health and related social determinants, including employment and housing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank the numerous people with lived experience of incarceration who have candidly and bravely shared their experiences of prison and their thoughts about how language choices matter for people in prison and people formerly in prison. The senior author particularly wishes to thank her father, who shared his own experiences of incarceration with her, and provided critical feedback on the first draft of this commentary. The opinions and views expressed within this commentary are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of their affiliated institutions or organisations.
Uncontrolled Keywords: prison,language,prison,substance use,infectious disease,stigma,health policy,medicine (miscellaneous),sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2719
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2021 02:01
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 03:02
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103455


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