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Criminal Justice "Frames"

1. Faulty Criminal Justice System Frame
People commit crimes because they know they can get away with them the police are handcuffed by “soft on crime? judges. The prisons are revolving doors. The only way to ensure public safety is to increase the speed, certainty, and severity of punishment. Loopholes and technicalities that interfere with the apprehension and imprisonment of offenders has to be eliminated, and funding for police, courts, and prisons has to be increased. The faulty system frame is symbolically represented by the convicted, repeat rapist or by the image of inmates passing through a revolving door on a prison.

2. Blocked Opportunities Frame
Crime is a consequence of inequality and discrimination, especially in unemployment, poverty, and education. People commit crimes when they discover that the legitimate means for attaining material success are blocked. Unemployment, ignorance, disease, filth, poor housing, congestion, and discrimination all contribute to a crime wave that is sweeping our nation. “If you’re going to create a sink-or-swim society, you have to expect people to thrash before they go down,? is an example of a claim associated with the blocked opportunity frame. To reduce crime, government has to improve the social conditions that cause it. Examples of blocked opportunities include dead-end jobs held by inner-city youth, such as flipping burgers at McDonald's.

3. Social Breakdown Frame
Crime is a consequence of family and community disintegration, skyrocketing rates of divorce, and out-of-wedlock births. One version of social breakdown attributes family and community breakdown to “permissiveness,? like government-sponsored welfare. Another version attributes family and community breakdown to unemployment, racial discrimination, and the loss of jobs and income. According to this version, “In America’s toughest neighborhoods, meanest streets, and poorest rural areas, we have seen a stunning breakdown of community, family and work at the heart and soul of civilized society. This has created a vast vacuum into which violence, drugs and gangs have moved.?

4. Racist System Frame
The courts and police are racist agents of oppression. Police resources are dedicated more to the protection of White neighborhoods than to reducing crime in Minority communities. Black offenders are more likely than Whites who commit comparable offenses to be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison. The death penalty is administered in a racist fashion. According to one claim, “We have in these United States lived under a dual system of justice, one for the White, one for the Black.?

5. Violent Media Frame
Crime and violence in society are due violence on television, in the movies, and in popular music. Violence in the mass media undermines respect for life. To reduce violence in society, we have to first reduce it in the mass media. “By the time the average child reaches age 18, he will have witnessed some 18,000 murders and countless highly detailed incidents of robbery, arson, bombings, shooting, beatings, forgery, smuggling and torture.? Violent media is not the most important source of our cultural violence, but it substantially contribute to violent crime.