The way we talk changes daily. The words we use and the way we describe certain people, places, and things is always transforming. So, naturally this would be the case with how we talk about people locked inside prison. It may also matter even more when they leave prison too.
Among other terms some departments of corrections are discarding, “inmate” makes the list. These words don’t stop inside prisons, they often follow people outside hence the term “ex-con” which can punish someone for the rest of their life despite any changes for the better.
People do have names after all and some people who have been surveyed prefer the term incarcerated person. The stigma attached to terms that describe people who are currently and formerly incarcerated means a lot of judgement, lost opportunities, and discrimination.
Just because someone has (or hasn’t) committed a crime and ended up in prison it doesn’t mean they’re no longer a human being. How we talk about people in prison matters and the last thing we should want to do is take away anyone’s value as a person just because.