Construction of Criminal Justice System in the Media

Please note References and in-text citation much follow ASA guidelines. For this assignment, write a 1,500-2,000 word essay that explores the ways in which the American news media portrays the concept(s) of “crime,” “criminal,” and/or “criminal justice” during two different periods in history. Find two newspaper articles from different time periods, i.e., must be published at least 20 years apart. One of your articles may be from the current time period and one may be historical or both may be historical as long as they were published at least 20 years apart.

Organize your essay around a discussion of one of the following themes from our course:

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The social construct of “crime” and/or “criminals”
The perceived purpose of the criminal justice system
The perceived role and power (or lack thereof) of various actors in the criminal justice system
The implicit or explicit use of the criminal justice system to advance social or political goals

Examine the complexities, including any differences or similarities in how crime, criminals, and/or criminal justice are portrayed in your chosen articles. Use direct quotes from the articles to support/illustrate your claim. Be sure to discuss specific ways that these portrayals relate to the historical, social, and/or political contexts of the period as we have discussed in this course(see attached key terms and concepts). (Please note that you can always take a position or perspective that is different from that of the instructor or any of the authors we have read.)

You may select articles about any topic relevant to criminal justice (e.g., role of policing, drug laws, immigration, violent crime, crimes against women, juvenile justice, etc.). However, both articles should focus on the same or overlapping topics so that you can present a coherent argument. For example, it would not be advisable for you to choose one article about juvenile justice and another about immigration unless you were discussing different ways youth have been criminalized over time.

For full credit:

Clearly articulate and support your thesis
Address each of the key components of the assignment, including: a clear thesis related to one of the specified themes, a comparison (i.e., similarities and/or differences) from the two different time periods, and specific ways that these portrayals relate to the historical, social, and/or political contexts of their period.
Include a copy of (or link to) your source materials, i.e., your chosen newspaper articles
Provide direct quotes (i.e., exact words within quotation marks) from each newspaper article to support and illustrate your claims; interpret the quotes and summarize any other relevant information from the article that we need to understand your argument. Do not assume that we are going to read your source materials in order to understand your essay.
Follow conventions for a college essay; they should be proofread, have introduction and conclusion paragraphs, clear thesis statements, and references that follow ASA citation format, including proper in-text citation following ASA guidelines (see Purdue OWL if needed).

Double-space your essay and use margins of at least 1 inch
Include word count at the end of your paper

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