Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office to use ‘resident’ instead of ‘inmate’ when referring to those in jail

MADISON, Wis. — Authorities with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday plans to refer to incarcerated community members as residents rather than inmates.

Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said the move is an effort to “humanize those who are within our care.”

“Over the past 97 days as sheriff, while meeting with members of our community, I have gained a new perspective from our staff, deputies and the incarcerated within our Dane County Jail,” Barrett said. “Talking with community members recently released from state, county and federal incarceration has added to that perspective.”

During the Monday morning press conference, Barret joined by Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher, Dane County Supervisor Maureen McCarville, and State Representative Sheila Stubbs — said the change would help eliminate barriers residents face upon release by decreasing the stigma about incarceration.

Barrett said the decreased stigma would help folks find employment, housing, education programs and more, which in turn could reduce recidivism and jail population.

“As your sheriff, I believe our philosophies, policies and practices should be proactive and not reactionary like many other areas of our criminal justice system,” Barrett said.