Mass Incarceration and the Media : Origins, Consequences, and Perpetuations
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The social and economic issues resulting from the mass incarceration phenomenon in the United States have been widely discussed by scholars in recent years. Existing literature points toward the historical factors contributing to the current state of the United States prison system. These factors include: the shift in perceptions of crime following the Civil Rights Movement, the surge in drug-related arrests following President Nixon's declaration of a "War on Drugs," and the transition to for-profit private prisons. This project seeks to fill a gap in the existing literature as it examines the reasons behind the continual acceptance shifting perceptions of crime in the United States. Specifically, the objective of this research is to examine how the ways in which modern media is presented have influenced the perpetuation of a punitive public opinion and enabled the steady increase in imprisonment rates. Quantitative survey data from the year 2014 provided by the NORC at the University of Chicago in the form of its General Social Survey is analyzed and discussed in the context of the mass incarceration phenomenon.