Presentation on theme: "Corrections Historically, corrections is the least covered aspect of criminal justice by the media. Outside of shows like “Lockup,” most Americans have."— Presentation transcript:
Corrections Historically, corrections is the least covered aspect of criminal justice by the media. Outside of shows like “Lockup,” most Americans have no idea about the realities of American prisons, such as the enormous pains of imprisonment suffered each day by inmates.
Corrections Prisons are little covered in the news. Scholars call imprisonment the “veiling of punishment” and refer to it as “out of sight, out of mind.”
Corrections In one study, Steven Chermak found that about 17% of all criminal justice stories in newspapers and on television dealt with corrections. Stories about policing made up 52% of all stories, and stories about courts made up 30% of all stories.
Corrections News coverage of corrections focuses on the extraordinary rather than the ordinary. Most commons stories are negative including stories about riots, escapes, and executions.
Corrections Three types of negative stories dominate news coverage of corrections: – 1) stories about the failure of corrections to protect the public – 2) stories about amenities of prisoners – 3) stories of corruption and misconduct
Corrections The most prevalent images of corrections found in news accounts as well as television and movies are misleading. – For example, the vast majority of people who are punished in the United States receive relatively mild sanctions such as probation … – Media images of corrections suggest that the typical punishment used in the United States is imprisonment.
Caption: Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show that far more people are on probation than under any other form of criminal sanction in the US. While the US leads the world in the number of people incarcerated as well as its incarceration rate, inmates locked up in prisons and jails only account for about 31% of all people under correctional supervision in the US.
Probation Why ignore probation? – Boring – No conflict – Nonviolent offenders Eva Carson, UNC student body president Her suspected murderers (both on probation during their crime)
“Tough on Crime” Mainstream media generally ignore that “getting tough” does not work – Crime is down, BUT how much due to criminal justice? http://www.pscj.appstate.edu/media/crimedecline.html http://www.pscj.appstate.edu/media/crimedecline.html Why do media generally ignore this issue? – Links with politicians, government officials – Pro status quo – Main narratives of criminals in media revolve around individual level causes
Costs of Punishment Mainstream media generally ignore the enormous costs of punishment – Roughly 77% of all corrections expenditures are for prisons – Spent roughly $68.8 billion on corrections in 2006 – 77% of $68.8 billion = $53 billion for prisons
Why So Expensive? Because we are #1!!! – U.S. leads the world in the size and scope of its criminal justice apparatus. – More people locked up in the U.S. than in any other country in the world!
US has 5% of world’s population but 25% of prisoners!
Pains of Imprisonment Loss of liberty Loss of autonomy Loss of security Loss of dignity Loss of voting rights Loss of goods and services Loss of heterosexual relationships Stigmatization
Mentally Ill in Corrections More than half of all inmates have a mental health problem of some kind, including 705,600 state prison inmates, 70,200 federal prisoners, and 479,900 local jail inmates (2005-2006). … 56% of State prisoners, 45% of Federal prisoners, and 64% of jail inmates!
Mentally Ill in Corrections In most states, the largest provider is the prison system The nation’s largest provider is the Los Angeles County Jail.
Biases in Corrections Black males are disproportionately likely to be under all forms of correctional supervision. African American males have a 32% chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives, versus 17% of Hispanic males and 6% of Caucasian males.
Biases in Corrections Black males are disproportionately likely to be under all forms of correctional supervision. One in ten (10.4%) black males aged 25–29 is in prison or jail, versus 1 in 26 (3.8%) Hispanic males and 1 in 59 (1.6%) white males (2008). African American males have a 32% chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives, versus 17% of Hispanic males and 6% of Caucasian males.
Capital Punishment … is extremely rare in the US (and thus newsworthy!) – only 1% of all killings nationwide lead to death sentences – only 2% of killings in states with the death penalty lead to death sentences. Only 7% of executions (1977-2007) received national TV new coverage – Coverage more common in newspapers (20-48% covered in USA Today and NY Times)
Capital Punishment Certain executions more newsworthy than others (e.g., multiple victims, high profile cases, white victims) Coverage of executions more common than coverage of exonerees – Isolated mistake frame more common than systemic failure frame