The Myth that Imprisonment is the Most Severe Form of Punishment
The Myth that Imprisonment is the Most Severe Form of Punishment
There are numerious consent related to the explanation of the crime. The media advertises crime by what acts are reacted to by the courts & police whereas a lawyer examines crime as acts that have been explaned as crimes by the written lagislation. A myth can be recognized as a story or belief that has been associated with an occurrence, so, crime myths are attitude about crime not affirmed by appropriate study (Boyle, 2005). Therefore, crime facts are what criminal acts are actually occurrence exposed by evidence. Juvenile crime myths are to be used in this study to discuss crime myths and facts in four discussions by focusing particularly on juvenile crime.
This study begins by examining the developments and motivations of myths produced by the media and the government and then secondly contrasting this with the developments and motivations of crime facts produced from various measures to show resemblances in accuracy. Next, as a result from the above analysis, it will be argued that majority of juvenile crime is non-violent, dispelling the media created myth that all juvenile crime is violent (Robert and Jeffery, 2006). It is discussed that juvenile crime rates are relatively stable and the best way to get a comprehensive outlook on crime is through statistical research rather than succumbing to the medias ‘representations’ of crime.
Perpetuator Of Crime Myths And Fallacies
The first point of discussion is that the media is a huge perpetuator of crime myths and fallacies creating trend stories because sensationalism sells. The media and other contributing factors such as the government select the crime problems for society and focus people attention on social issues (Boyle, 2005). Newspapers, television, radio and the Internet together misrepresent crime by dramatising particular crime events, rarely based on factual evidence and usually focused on certain groups of people and locations, affecting the selected residents or age groups. This is a generalised perception of crime causing the community to have a similar outlook.
Evidence of these arguments is substantiated after four nights of rioting by youths that occurred in Macquarie Fields of western Sydney, in February. Boyle (2005) states that residents were reportedly “angry with the media because of the spin that is being put on the situation” and that reporters were “denigrating Macquarie Fields” and other Macquarie Fields youths. This affair led to a chain of media stories focusing on youth crime in all states causing social concern and unnecessary fear amongst the public.
While the media is a perpetuator, Kappeler continues to argue that the government also assists in the creation of crime myths to ensure that society maintains its perceptions of criminals and the criminal justice system and secures their interests. While media is the main purpetuator, the government also co-operates to publicise social problems, resulting in the creation of crime myths. Reporting of a crime might be accurate to a point, but it is still developed into a myth because of the lack of supporting evidence supplied with the story.
Developments And Motivations Of Crime Myths
Argued secondly is how the developments and motivations of crime myths contrasts with that of crime facts. Crime facts are produced from statistical research supplied by various resources. Researchers use information supplied to create a broader outlook on specific crimes. Three commonly used measures of crime are surveys of self-reported crime, crime victim surveys and recorded crime (police statistics, court records). Graycar & Grabosky (2002) argue that there is frequent disagreement over police statistics as not all crimes are reported to the police, making the data partially unreliable. Court statistics only show offenders who have been prosecuted, but show a good idea of the characteristics of offenders that may dispel other myths.
Braithwaite (1979) states that the validity of crime victim surveys can also be questioned due to the respondent’s honesty. Braithwaite also argues that even though different methodologies have their weaknesses, using them together can show that “the result is not the reflection of some artificial relationship with the large error variance in each case” (p. 37). This shows that crime facts may not be completely factual but these resources are utilised together to create a more comprehensive outlook on crime.
The Crime and Safety Survey
The media has encouraged the community to perceive juvenile crime as being violent and on the rise. It is evident from such headlines from The Advertiser as, “Youth bring terror to streets” (Youth, 2005), and, “Teenage gangs with weapons to kill” (Williams, 2005), that the media is portraying a trend in juvenile crime and it is creating a feeling of insecurity in the community although no statistical evidence is shown in any of these articles. Research has shown that juveniles commit minimal violent crimes although the media gives the impression that it is otherwise. Mukherjee, Carcach & Higgins (1997, pp.18, 19) reports that of the queensland juvenile offenders between 1991 to 1996 only 9% included violent crimes. Violent crimes were categorised as homicide, serious assault, common assault and robbery.
Furthermore illustrates that offender rates were similar in 1995-1996 and 2002-2003 for the offences of homicide, assault, sexual assault and robbery and are well below property offences. Ilustrates to us that theft is the most likely offence to be committed by juveniles and while some offences are violent, the majority are non-violent which dispels the myth that most juvenile crime is violent. Crime facts are contradicting what the media has advertised as a trend in newspapers and it appears that non-violent crimes are not newsworthy (Robert and Jeffery, 2006). Had these newspapers not published such headlines, Australians might not think of juvenile crime as being as violent.
There is little cause for concern over violent youth crime even though there has been a great deal of attention from the media. This perception of vicious and aggressive youth crime has been sparked by an increase in media coverage in recent months and various research agencies have released media releases to dispel many juvenile crime myths. The largest decline was between 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 at 20%. In fact the rate has been on a decline since 2003.
Furthermore, after conducting a study on recidivism, Cain (1996) identifies that 70% of juvenile offenders had only one appearance in court while 15% had two, indicating that 85% of juveniles have limited involvement with the criminal justice system. Cain concludes that it is a small proportion of youth offenders who are responsible for a large percentage of crimes. There is no evidence of a trend or ‘crime wave’ in youth crime. Furthermore, according to victimization results, youth crime rates are relatively stable. It is unwarranted to fear youths because of media enforced crime myths. This myth can be dispelled because of the evidence illustrated.
It is concluded that by comparing myth developments as well as myths relating to juvenile crime, it is concluded that crime myths and facts are very diverse because of the way they are developed and perceived by society. From this examination, it is evident that both the media and science have significantly different motivations for the creation of myths and facts. Crime myths create a feeling of vulnerability and insecurity whereas crime facts try to achieve balance and a level of reassurance. From comparing these two media enforced crime myths to their facts, it is recognized that most juvenile offences are not violent in nature and there is no increase in juvenile crime regardless of the medias interpretings, therefore the decline in juvenile crime and violence is visibly not newsworthy material. Media, being the major source of information in society for adults, create a level of insecurity and fear of juveniles that is excessive.
ABS (2002) ABS Crime and Justice Data in A Grayscar and P Grabosky (eds) The Cambridge Handbook of Australian Criminology. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, pp 31-38
Australian crime: Facts and figures 2004. (2004). Australian Institute of Criminology.
Retrieved March 20, 2005 from http://www.aic.gov.au
Boyle, P. (2005, March 16). Media incites more violence. Green Left Weekly
Braithwaite, J. (1979), Australian delinquency: Research and practical considerations’ in Paul R. Wilson (ed), Delinquency in Australia. A Critical Perspective, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 15-38.
Bohm M. Robert, Walker T. Jeffery. (2006). Demystifying Crime and Criminal Justice. Published by Roxbury. ISBN 1933220163, 9781933220161. PP. 140- 154
Cain M (1996), Recidivism of Juvenile Offenders in NSW, NSW Department of Juvenile
Kappeler, V, Blumberg, M and Potter, G (1993), Mythology and Crime and Criminal Justice, Chapter 1, ” The Social Construction of Crime Myths”, Waveland Press.
Mukherjee, S, Carcach, C and Higgins, K (1997), Juveniles as offenders. Research and Public Policy Series, 11 18,19
Williams, Matt. (2005), ‘Teenage gangs with weapons to kill’, The Advertiser, http://www.news.com.au