Decarcerate, excarcerate

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 17 15:42:39 UTC 2014

I just found this post by searching my computer, after noticing a story in the Yale Daily News about a local (Connecticut) group, "Decarcerate CT".  As can be seen from the group's website,, the impetus appears to be related to religious groups (not all religions, I imagine).

Not a new verb, as Dave noted back in August, but building up enough of a head of steam to qualify for a WOTY category?  I don't recall our considering it in the past, but I may be wrong.


On Aug 14, 2013, at 7:57 AM, Dave Wilton wrote:

> Heard someone use "decarcerate" to refer to the process of reducing prison
> populations on KQED yesterday:;
> it's about 19 minutes in.
> It seems to be common in prison reform circles:
> There's also "excarcerate," which is not putting people in prison in the
> first place:
> Both terms go back at least as far as the book: Morris, Mark, ed., _Instead
> of Prisons: A Handbook for Abolitionists_, Syracuse: Prison Research
> Education Project, 1976. (Although I've only seen the web version of the
> book at the above site.)
> (Unrelated, the copyright page of the book has this on spelling reform: "The
> reader's eye might trip over a few unusual spellings -- words such as 'tho'
> and 'thru.' We have made these modest beginnings toward spelling reform
> because we are made uncomfortable by the idea of cutting down forests to
> make paper to print silent letters. -The editor")
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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