Social Aspects Of Television


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social aspects of television Prison Life

Prison Life
Most people have no idea what it feels like to be in prison, statistically only one out of every five people will know what its like to be in prison.  Approximately 1.4 million people out of the U.S.s 280 million people are in prison. (Thomas, 2)   The only reason people know about prisons is because of the media.  The news, movies, and books all contribute to people's stereotypes about prisons.  Prisoners receive three meals a day, workout facilities, a library, as well as other things.  People are also given the idea, through the mass media, that prisoners are free to walk around certain parts of the prison.  All of these ideas are cast upon prisons so that people will not be afraid of them.  Society has been given the idea that prisons are not very bad on the inside.  What is prison life really like?
The mass media uses prison life as the source for movies and television shows.  Over the years there have been many movies written about prison but the most prominent in my mind is Frank Darabonts, The Shawshank Redemption.  Throughout the film there are many examples of the falsities of prison life.  There are some elements of truth but they are out weighed by the misconceptions.  Numerous prisoners are allowed to walk around the prison and the prison yard with no guards in sight.  In actuality there are always guards around, especially on the inside.  The prisoners movement through the prison is highly restricted.  
In many prisons there is some corruption but in the movie there is an exceptionally large amount.  It appears that it is very easy for the prisoners to smuggle contra ban into the prison.  Morgan Freemans character Red is able to get just about anything, posters, cigarettes, etc.  In todays prison system it is not something that is openly discussed, but it is not nearly as easy as it appears to smuggle things into the prison.                        
The television show OZ on HBO, is another good example of how the mass media sugarcoats prisons.  The inmates live in a fictional prison called Oswald Correctional Facility, in which they have created a test program called Emerald City.  Emerald City is a part of the prison that is separate from the general population.  The prisoners are allowed a great deal of freedom.  They have television, games (i.e. checkers), computer facilities, a library, and a full gym.  There are some ideas that are accurate from the show but the inaccuracies out weigh the accuracies.  The prisoners are basically allowed to walk though Emerald City with very little supervision.  
Although it is difficult for someone who has not been in prison to give an accurate portrayal of prison life, I shall, through my reading, attempt to describe some aspects of real prison life.  The primary goal of prison is to punish and rehabilitate criminals.  The prisoners are denied the simpler pleasures of life that most people take for granted.   Prisons use deprivation of outside contact in order to accomplish rehabilitation.  Traditionally, prisons are constructed of concrete walls and floors, iron bars, and very few windows this creates a dull and dreary environment.  The prisoners are always under some sort of surveillance by officers  (closed-circuit television or officers who circulate through the population), are counted several times a day and are subject to personal searches as they circulate though the prison. (Jones, 10)
The inmates are divided into separate living areas depending on what they are doing within the prison.  They live in different cellblocks according to where they work (i.e. laundry, kitchen, etc.), if they are in and educational program, if they are parole violators, if they have a high escape risk, if they have violated any of the instuitions rules, etc. (Jones, 12) Prisoners are allowed to work within the prison walls and are paid to do so. They usually receive a flat rate per day depending on what job they do. Some of the money they earn is given to them while still inside the prison. The rest of the money they earn is considered gate money which is given to the prisoner upon their release (Jones, 13).  
Prisoners have many things that they have ... more

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Violence In America..Will It Ever End?

Today in St. Paul two people were murdered. It has been reported that the two were fighting with a third party about a phone call that was made. The suspect is in custody and the case is under investigation, a reporter in the ten oclock news reports. Spouse and child abuse are on the rise. This year alone over 6 million men, women, and children were victims of severe physical attacks from their spouses or parents(article 16)*, another reporter reports. Is it just me or does this seem like something that is all too often heard on the news? The violent acts in the United States are out of control. But what can be done about it, and how much worse are things going to get? It seems to me that what is being done now isnt enough, because things just keeps getting worse. There are twelve main things that have been being studied in depth lately by sociologists. They include: spanking, child abuse, spouse abuse, the punishment for the offenders, gun control, the medias affect on violence, the role sports play in violence, the role religion plays in violence, pacifism, and international violence. My paper will discuss each of these aspects as well as my opinions and state some facts. Before I can say how I feel, I think there is a need to define violence, aggressiveness, and assertiveness and explain the difference between them. Violence is a physical act that intends to harm or hurt another person. Violence includes many things; such as, hitting, punching, biting, killing, stabbing, shoving, and so much more. Violence can be linked to two other words that have also become a part of every day life for many people; aggression and being assertive. Aggression is a hostile, or destructive act that is forceful. Aggression is usually related with someone being dominant. Being assertive is to stating something (i.e. your opinion) boldly. Both aggression and being assertive do not involve a physical force. Although these three words have different meanings, I think they very closely related. When a person is being assertive and not getting their way, or getting their point across, they can often become aggressive, and aggression often times leads to a violent act. This domino effect closely relates all these words. Violence, it has become something that society has to deal with every day now. Much newspaper space is currently being given to violence--the violence that is happening and the frequent cries to stop it, says that writer of article 3*. Just think of the major world events that happened last couple years; Columbine, the Oklahoma City bombing, Jonesboro, the increase of gang violence, or even the racist incidents that happened at Champlin Park last year. All of these huge events involves at least one violent reaction. Turn on the television for half an hour, the amount of violence, assertiveness, or aggression you will notice in cartoons, sitcoms, or even on the news will be extremely high. We are being exposed to violence more and more every day, and a lot of times I dont think people even realize that they are being exposed. Watching wrestling or a sport on television are two examples of this. It seems like society is starting to see violence as something normal. A person getting murdered is no longer headline news, it takes a immature kid to go and shoot eight classmates of his in order to open peoples eyes. People have become so used to hearing about someone being unable to control themselves and lashing out at someone that they dont even turn their head anymore when they hear about it. Violence, aggression and assertiveness are an everyday part of life now. Violence, and aggression are learned behaviors. ...aggressive behavior is learned very early in life and continues with the individual over many years, (article 18)*. Just like a parent teaches a child to say please and thank you and be considerate of others, they can teach them violence. A parent is probably the most important influence a person has. Children not only look up their parents and admire them, they want to be like them. When a child sees ... more

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