(Mis)Representing Corrections: The Role of Our Cultural Industries

book chapter, in Jeffrey Ian Ross and Stephen C. Richards (Eds.) Convict Criminology, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, pp.37-58. 2003

12 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014

See all articles by Jeffrey Ian Ross

Jeffrey Ian Ross

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

The correctional system in the United States and elsewhere suffers from numerous problems (Welch, 1996, Austin and Irwin, 2001). One of the most important issues is that it is hard to obtain accurate information about corrections, incarceration, and prisoners. Consequently, many falsehoods, myths, misconceptions, misrepresentations, and stereotypes about this field have been developed by individuals, organizations, and institutions.

To address this problem, I identify the common myths of corrections, review the most important cultural industries that are responsible for developing the misconceptions, and provide appropriate examples from the respective industries that demonstrate how the myths are used. To do this, it is necessary to situate this endeavor in an appropriate epistemology. I use the radical/critical perspective, which I believe best informs this topic.

In this chapter, I explore the importance of mythmaking about crime, criminal justice, and corrections; look at why myths are successful; examine the important role of cultural industries, such as fashion, advertising, documentaries, fictional treatments, motion pictures, and the mass media/news media; and offer some concluding thoughts about remedying this problem.

Keywords: myths, legends, prisons, prisoners, criminal justice, incarceration, corrections, misinformation, crime, mass media, news media, documentaries, fictional treatments

JEL Classification: L82, K19, K39, K49, H89

Suggested Citation

Ross, Jeffrey Ian, (Mis)Representing Corrections: The Role of Our Cultural Industries (2003). book chapter, in Jeffrey Ian Ross and Stephen C. Richards (Eds.) Convict Criminology, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, pp.37-58. 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2439315

Jeffrey Ian Ross (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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