Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology and Criminology

Advisor/Mentor

Casey, Harris

Committee Member/Reader

Allison, Kayla

Committee Member/Second Reader

Roessger, Kevin

Committee Member/Third Reader

Marren, Susan

Abstract

In hopes to fill gaps on this subject, the current study uses ethnographic content analysis on newspaper articles while investigating the following research questions: (1) How does local news media portray recidivism by reentering prisoners? and in turn, (2) What are some characteristics of those news articles associated with the likelihood of local media using specific portrayals or “frames”?

There are several reasons to examine these research questions. First, this research aims to convey how local news media might use their positions to create narratives for public consumption that foster worry and panic. This study can shed light on the overall narrative of risk that is provided for public consumption, including the differences in prevalence of different kinds of narratives. Second, in describing how media might create fear of those released from the criminal justice system, the current project also aids in understanding why more or less restrictive prison release policies may be adopted in certain communities. In some cases, this may mean that communities pursue policies that lack empirical evidence and, in turn, can lead to more harm to the community than good. Broadly, this project addresses disparities in support of reentry initiatives by focusing on both how it is portrayed across different local media sources and some of the factors associated with that portrayal. In doing so, the current project can help to shed light on public receptiveness that, subsequently, shapes the prospects and reception of returning prisoners

Keywords

Newspaper media, prisoner reentry, public opinion, framing

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