Consuming Crime and Avoiding Punishment: Media Influence in the Shaping of Public Perceptions of Crime and Sentencing

Gillespie, Marie and McLaughlin, Eugene (2005). Consuming Crime and Avoiding Punishment: Media Influence in the Shaping of Public Perceptions of Crime and Sentencing. In: Emsley, Clive ed. The Persistent Prison: Problems, Images and Alternatives. London, UK: Francis Bootle Publications, pp. 113–143.

URL: http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/booklist/prison/ind...

Abstract

This chapter is based on research funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation: Re-thinking Crime and Punishment. It argues that crime dramas are just as influential as crime news in shaping public understanding of sentencing. Sentencing issues have relatively low media priority. Crime is more dramatic and appealing to audiences than punishment. Even avid consumers of media crime can avoid reflecting on punishment because of the way crime narratives are typically structured. This makes securing public approval for alternatives to prison more difficult. This research and chapter is widely cited and contributed to storylines about the value of community based sentencing in three soap operas.

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