What 'Penitential People' Think About Prison and Media?

Pascal Decarpes, University of Lille II

In the first semester of the year 2000 in France was a lot said in media about prison. I wanted to understand and to explain in which way people dealing with prison (voluntaries, executives of the Minister of Justice, journalists, etc_.) received all what appeared on TV and in the press media. By making 20 interviews, I could analyse reactions, perceptions and problems on what those persons felt right or wrong in the debate on prison. They told me much about their social representations on media, prison and public opinion. Therefore I caught main stream theories and clich‚ on those themes, especially the fact that one doesn't see exactly what someone else think as one could have thought. It said also about the way people try to give an image of their own activities, and how in that matter it could change the elements of an objective reality. Not that individuals lie, but certainly that they defend what define them. I mean to clear the reputation of prison.

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Updated 05/20/2006