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Media coverage and public understanding of sentencing policy in relation to crimes against children

Berry, Mike, Philo, Greg, Tiripelli, Giuliana, Docherty, Stevie and Macpherson, Colin 2012. Media coverage and public understanding of sentencing policy in relation to crimes against children. Criminology and Criminal Justice 12 (5) , pp. 567-591. 10.1177/1748895811432956

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This research examines how the media report on sentences given to those who commit serious crimes against children and how this impacts on public knowledge and attitudes. Three months of press and television coverage were analysed in order to establish the editorial lines that are taken in different sections of the media and how they are promoted by selective reporting of sentencing. Results indicate that a small number of very high profile crimes account for a significant proportion of reporting in this area and often, particularly in the tabloid press, important information regarding sentencing rationale is sidelined in favour of moral condemnation and criticism of the judiciary. Polling data indicate that public attitudes are highly critical of sentencing but also confused about the meaning of tariffs. The article concludes by discussing what can be done to promote a more informed public debate over penal policy in this area.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Uncontrolled Keywords: indeterminate sentencing; media; public attitudes; sentencing; sexual abuse
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1748-8958
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 May 2016
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2017 21:54

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