The board that sets standards in the state of Colorado has decided that the term "sex offenders" is just too offensive to describe people who commit sex crimes. The The state's Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB), who on Friday voted 10 to 6 to replace the title "sex offender" with more "person-first" language such as "adults who commit sexual offenses."
"I think the biggest thing is research really shows us that assigning a label has the potential for negative effects in rehabilitation," SOMB chair Kimberly Kline told the Denver Post. Faithwire remarked that ironically, the Sex Offender Management Board itself cannot change its name or remove the term "sex offender" from its title because the decision will have to come from the state legislature.
A board member explaiend to KCNC-TV that ceasing to use the term "sex offender" to describe sex criminals "strikes a balance that honors the impact to victims and recognizes the current and ongoing impacts of sexual assault but also avoids the labeling term that has negative impacts on those who commit sex offenses."
Some sex offenders supported the change, reasoning they should noit have to carry the label all their life. Derek Logue, a sex offender, remarked that "Referring to me by a label for something I did half my life ago is inappropriate and downright offensive." He added that he would be rather referred to as a "client" of the SOMB.
There are, however, more critics of the state of Colorado's decision to stop using the term "sex offender" to describe people who commit sex crimes. Jessica Dotter, who is part of the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, said that the "use of person-first language generally is an intent to remove accountability from offenders and to diminish the experience of the victims."
CBS Local reported that Kimberly Corbin, a rape survivor, spoke out against changing the term "sex offender" to langauge that is less stigmatizing. She argued that it is "very, very damaging for those who people who are labeled when it has to do with gender, race, sexuality, ability, but those are not their choices, the biggest thing for me is these are choices that sex offenders make."
In 2020, Colorado legislators considered a new measure that would have abolished the term "sexually violent predator" from statutes but decided against it. Meanwhile, a task force with sentencing reform is mulling over asking legislature to chance terms such as "defendant," "convict," and "felon" to "justice-involved people."
There are currently 11,882 registered sex offenders in Colorado, as per the Registered Offenders List. The counties in Colorado with the highest numbner of sex offenders are El Paso County, Denver County, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, and Adams County.
In the state of Colorado, the Sex Offenders Law states that anyone in the state jailed for a sexual offense must register with the local sheriff.Moreover, sexually violent predators must be registered in the state for life. The Colorado law was put in effect to ensure that "districts in the state understand the risks posed by this individual."