Can Media Talk About Prison?

Pascal Decarpes, University of Lille II

In January 2000 in France was published a book who became instantly famous : its title speaks for itself "m‚decin-chef … la prison de la Sant‚" written by Mme V‚ronique Vasseur who was in charge in the only Parisian prison of this job for about 7 years. All politicians and journalists made comments on it, and e few months later was given to the Prime Minister a report from the both parliamentary Assemblies. How did the media dealt with those events, how prison was handled as a main society issue ? That is the core element of a research I made, reading along several months all that was written in newspapers and magazines, trying to analyse how the press media reported on prison. By studying articles I noticed the difficulties and the clich‚ with which journalists had to deal. I pointed out that prison is mainly seen as "black or white", too punitive or not enough. I want to underline that prison is definitely not a easy public theme, and to give keys how to make it "well known".

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Updated 05/20/2006