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, please list and discuss at least 6 television shows that you have seen that depict the police, courts, and correctional components of the criminal justice system (2 television shows for each component: 2 law enforcement, 2 judiciary, and 2 corrections; for a total of 6 shows). there must be 2 examples that you must use to depict each of the 3 components of the criminal justice system for a total of 6 illustrations. (or for example, Law & Order SVU can count as both 1- police & 1-courts, but you will need another police (e.g. Cops), and another federal court TV show (e.g.: Boston Legal), Corrections (e.g. Prison Break and Orange is the New Black)
*Note: Courts are not Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, etc. These are civil courts. Assignment for courts is for federal courts (e.g. Murder, rape, robbery)
- How do these shows or events present each component?
- Are the images positive or negative concerning criminal justice professionals? Why?
- What stages of the criminal justice process are depicted in these programs? Why do you think the focus is on these stages?
- Do you think these images are fair representations of criminal justice? Why or why not? Are the shows realistic with current-day criminal justice activities? Why or why not?
Criminal Justice-“True Detective”
“True Detective” is a crime drama TV series that premiered in 2014. The drama series revolves around the lives of Rustin and Martin, who work as homicide detectives with the Louisiana Police State Department (Stubbs, 2015). The series presents law enforcement officers as hardworking. It focuses on the challenges that law enforcement officers often encounter in their work, such as utilizing scant evidence. The show portrays a positive image of the law enforcement officers. For instance, they are committed to fighting crime through all means, which includes risking their lives and staying away from their family for lengthy periods. The stage of the criminal justice system represented in this program is investigation stage, which entails probing crime (Cole & Smith, 2008). The focus is on this stage because the series focuses on uncovering people behind a series of murders who remain a mystery. The series is not a fair representation of the criminal justice system. This is because it presents a criminal justice system that is highly endowed with technological resources and other amenities. In reality, most of the departments lack such advanced technological resources. Shared resources such as desks are far more common.
The TV series focuses on the lives of law enforcement officers. The reality series follows the life of various law enforcement officers as they conduct their duties. The show is positive concerning criminal justice professionals. This is because it depicts law enforcement officers as the heroes who fight crime. The stage of the criminal justice system depicted is arrest. The program features officers apprehending suspected offenders. The focus is on the arrest stage since it often involves a lot of action and use of force. This is appealing to viewers. The images are a fair representation of the criminal justice system. Law enforcement officers conduct arrests on occasional basis as presented in the TV series. The TV series is not realistic with the current-day criminal justice activities. This is because it depicts law enforcement officers as inherently power and easily able to subdue offenders while making arrests. In reality, law enforcement officers face difficulties arresting offenders.
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”
This series focuses on major investigations involving Major Case Squad. The Major Case Squad represents a division in select police departments that is involved in investigation major crimes that beyond the level of average law enforcement officers. This show depicts the federal courts as handling complex cases involving sophisticated criminal networks and conspiracy theories. Some of the images concerning criminal justice professionals are negative. For instance, Mayfield and Darren harass and bribe a judge in season 6. The common stages in the criminal justice system depicted in the show are arraignment, plea bargaining, sentencing, and appeal (Cole & Smith, 2008). The focus is on these stages since the series aims at portraying how investigations and sentencing are conducted in the criminal justice system. The images are accurate representations of the criminal justice system. The TV series depicts the actual situations involving major crimes such bribery, coercion of judges, and other negative aspects. The show is realistic with current-day criminal justice activities since it bases its stories loosely on real crimes that occurred.
This British legal drama follows the life of a barrister involved in a series of high profile cases. The series highlights the challenges and dilemmas that current-day barristers face in the criminal justice system. The show portrays a positive image of barristers. The series portrays barristers as highly intelligent and capable of solving various dilemmas. The stages of the criminal justice system depicted are arraignment, plea bargaining, trial, sentencing, and appeals. The focus is on these stages because the show aims at debunking the federal court proceedings. The series accurately represents the criminal justice system. This is because it shows all the courtroom drama involved in various cases ranging from robbery, rape, murder, terrorism, and other high profile crimes. The show is realistic with current-day criminal justice activities. This series portrays various courtroom drama that is characteristic of the modern society. For instance in episode 4, Martha defends a man who is wanted for extradition because of involvement with terror activities.
Prison Break is an American drama series that depicts life in prisons. The series shows negative images concerning criminal justice professionals. The series depicts prisons as a place where corruption is rampant. In addition, other vices exist, such as drug use, violence, sexual abuse, and others. The stage of criminal justice presented is punishment or rehabilitation. The series aims at portraying the challenges that inmates experience in various correctional facilities across the country. The images are fair representations of the criminal justice system. This is because sexual abuse, corruption, drug use, and other forms of abuse are documented in correctional facilities (Stoher, Walsh, & Hemmens, 2013). This show is realistic with current-day criminal justice activities because victimization is rife even in modern correctional facilities.
This TV series drama provides an explicit view of life in Australian correctional facilities. The series portrays a negative image concerning criminal justice professionals. This is because law enforcement officers in prison facilities are depicted as contributing to some of the social ills such as rape and assault. The stage represented is punishment or rehabilitation. The focus is on this stage because the series aims at highlighting the social ills in correctional facilities. The images are a fair representation of the criminal justice since the film is a mirror of life in prison facilities. The show is also realistic with current-day criminal justice activities since it exposes current rot in prison facilities.
Cole, G. F., & Smith, C. E. (2008). Criminal justice in America. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Stoher, S., Walsh, A., & Hemmens, C. (2013). Corrections: A Text/Reader. Sage 2nd. ISBN: 9781412997171.
Stubbs, D. (2015, June 16). Watching the detectives: why the police procedure is more popular than ever. The Guardian.