Correcting the Correctors
By Rocky Reichman
Correction Facility, also written
Correctional Facility, is a fancy name for prison. Jail. Cell. Doing time. Big house. Lockup. Penitentiary. Joint.
Dungeon. Slammer. Caboose.
Whatever you want to call it, the word Correction
Facility is frequently used in place of prison. Federal and state governments don’t necessarily have “prisons”
or “jails,” they have “Correction Facilities.” Correction Facility is supposed to be a synonym
But is it? Does being locked up in a prison
cell have anything to do with “correcting”?
Do you really think convicts get “corrected”
in jail? Of course not! Prisons don’t correct convicts. They don’t teach them right from wrong, or magically
“fix” them. Nor do they tell them why “crime doesn’t pay.” Jails don’t “correct”
convicts, they “jail” them.
Then why is Correction Facility considered
such an apt synonym for jail? It has nothing to do with teaching convicts what they did wrong or how they can fix their wrongdoings.
But prisons do correct convicts in the sense that they provide “punishment intended to reform, improve, or rehabilitate”
them (dictionary.com). That’s why the proper name for a jail is Correction(al) Facility.
People normally don’t get jailed for
choosing the wrong word. But what’s the worst that can happen if make a mistake?
You’ll get corrected.
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