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Prison warders told to can 'hurtful' language

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Scottish prison warders have been ordered to can "hurtful" language which might offend the delicate sensibilities of Caledonian lags, the Times reports.

Among the vocab for the off, as outlined in Plain Talking: What We Say Can Hurt People issued by the Scottish Prison Service and Capability Scotland, are “daftie”, "nutter" and “psycho” - to be replaced with a “person with mental health issues” or a “person with a learning difficulty”.

Capability Scotland's Elspeth Molony explained: “The word ‘daftie’ is used as a derogatory term. It implies there is something bad about them. An impairment need not be a negative thing. Many people wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s who they are.”

Other descriptions which similarly “reinforce negative attitudes” are “dumb” (in future “without speech”) and "handicapped", the latter axed because it derives from “cap in hand” which apparently infers disabled people are beggars.

And just to make absolutely sure no one gets upset, the guide tells staff not to say a prisoner “suffers from”, is “afflicted with” or is a “victim of” disabilities, clarifying that “impairments are part of who people with disabilities are”.

Warders who fail to observe the list of proscribed words face disciplinary action, the Times notes, while "prisoners who use the terms with fellow inmates could have privileges cut".

Unsurprisingly, the move has caused a certain amount of derision. Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken weighed in with: “I can almost hear the laughter around Barlinnie and Saughton as the prisoners look askance at these instructions.”

A spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness protested: “Daftie is not the worst thing to call someone, and there is so much of this going on it is difficult to keep up with the latest PC phrases. If someone is belittling a prisoner, it would be the behaviour rather than the words that would be the main problem.”

The Scottish Prison Service’s equality and diversity manager, Rob Hastings, defended that the guide "is not PC gone mad", concluding: "You have to keep chipping away at these attitudes." ®

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