Goodbye 'ex-offenders,' hello 'returning citizens'

The R.I.S.E. program sponsored a job fair for people with criminal records at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

On Mayor Nutter's behalf, Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. today introduced a bill to change all references to "ex-offenders" to "returning citizens" in the Philadelphia Code.

Nutter also signed an executive order slimming the official name of the R.I.S.E. program from the Office of Re-integration Services for Ex-Offenders to the Office of Re-integration Services. 

"The commonly used term ‘ex-offender’ carries with it a stigma which may increase the challenges these citizens face, while the term 'returning citizen' more appropriately focuses on their engagement in the process of reintegration," Nutter said in a statement. "As a government, the City of Philadelphia must do what it can to help their transition.”

Goode said the change will help alter "the general public’s perception of people who have served their time, paid their debt to society, and want to re-enter our City’s communities as hard-working, productive members."

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