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Community Punishment In News Media

The “spared Jail Rhetoric”: Constructions of Community Punishment in British News Media

Hayes David, from the The University of Nottingham, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Punishment and its alternatives,” under the title “The “spared Jail Rhetoric”: Constructions of Community Punishment in British News Media”. Here is the abstract: Using results taken from a thematic analysis of 2,000 articles taken from British newspapers between 1/1/2003 and 1/7/2011, this paper discusses the ways in which media represent community punishment (CP). It focuses specifically upon the semantic phenomenon of the “Shared Jail Rhetoric” (SJR), in which CP is labelled as excusing the offender a carceral sentence. Newspapers tend to vary the terminology of the SJR to attach assumptions that touch upon the offender’s character, agency in proceedings, and socio-moral value. This paper will discuss the implications of the SJR upon how community punishment is viewed by the British public, as well as upon policy and practice. In particular, it will argue that the SJR undermines attempts to treat CP as a valid retributive process, adding support to the (counterfactual) allegation that these sanctions are ‘soft on crime’, and limiting their political availability in practice. Potential means of counteracting this tendency are then discussed.

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  • “The “spared Jail Rhetoric”: Constructions of Community Punishment in British News Media”, by Hayes David (Proceedings)


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  • Article Name: Community Punishment In News Media
  • Author: Amber Gibson
  • Description: The “spared Jail Rhetoric”: Constructions of Community Punishment in British News Media Hayes David, from the The [...]

This entry was last updated: August 14, 2020

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