Colorado Won’t Use Term ‘Sex Offender’

Colorado Won't Use Term 'Sex Offender' american and colorado flag fly outside colorado capitol building (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Monday, 22 November 2021 11:46 AM

The term "sex offender" may not be woke enough for Colorado. Instead, people who commit sexual offenses will be referred to as "adults who commit sexual offenses."

The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) voted on Friday to not use the term "sex offender" in its proposals. The board, which is concerned with the development and evaluation of rules for rehabilitating and monitoring those labeled sex offenders, voted 10-6 to eliminate the term from its material, the Washington Examiner reported.

The board’s decision is subject to a 20-day public comment period before final ratification, according to the Denver Post.

The board said that labeling an individual a sex offender creates a public perception that they are a threat to public safety, regardless of their current state. Instead, using "person-first" terminology helps reduce recidivism and minimizes the chances of repeat offenses.

However, Jessica Dotter, sexual assault resource prosecutor for the Colorado District Attorneys' Council and an SOMB member, told the Denver Post that victims of sexual abuse "want their offender to be held accountable and to be known as an offender."

The change in terminology will not affect how Colorado enforces its sexual offender policies.

Person-first terminology has been employed by groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the context of the ill and the disabled.

According to the CDC: "People First Language" (PFL) puts the person before the disability, and describes what a person has, not who a person is. PFL uses phrases such as "person with a disability," "individuals with disabilities," and "children with disabilities," as opposed to phrases that identify people based solely on their disability, such as "the disabled."

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