Defining Criminal Justice

Crime and justice are subjects that are frequently presented on television. Primetime television shows, soap operas, music videos, and cartoons often portray images of crime and criminal justice in a sensational manner or one of negativity. The pictures of police brutality and mistrust of law officials is prevalent because of the reality of cases that exist, especially in an era where information can be dispersed quickly and immediately via technology.

For this assignment, you will analyze 6 examples of popular media (e.g., TV, movies, radio, or print) that you have seen that depict the police, courts, and correctional components of the criminal justice system. You will need to select 2 examples for each for the three components of criminal justice: law enforcement, judiciary, and corrections. In your answers to the following questions, you can provide academic or real-life criminal justice examples to support and enhance your answers to each question.

In a 2–3-page paper, address all of the following topics for each of your media examples with the use of headings and subheadings:

  • In what setting does your media example present the component that you have selected? For example, Miami Vice was primarily a law enforcement show that focused on vice (such as drugs and prostitution).
  • In what ways does your media example portray the criminal justice professionals in a positive or negative light? Provide specific examples to support your position. For example, an argument could be made that Miami Vice glamorized the life of a vice detective.
  • What stages of the criminal justice process are depicted in the media example? Why do you think the focus is on these stages? For example, Miami Vice depicted law enforcement investigations, engagement with criminals, and arrests.
  • Do you think these images are fair and realistic representations of current-day criminal justice? Why or why not?