During the month of March, Prison Ministry held “March Media Madness,” where they talked about the “intersection of media and crime portrayal.” The club’s meetings were dedicated towards debunking some of the myths that crime shows portray about how the justice system works. Every meeting was uniquely named after well-known criminal justice shows.
On March 12, there was the “Court Processes and the CSI Effect” meeting, in which they compared how actual court proceedings work versus how a show, such as CSI, portrays it. According to one of Prison Ministry’s leaders, Alicia Michaels, these kinds of shows might “influence jurors and, you know, people in the courts to want more evidence than you might need [on the suspect] or just have higher expectations in general [on the court process].”
The club’s following meeting was called “Facts & Fakes in Criminal Minds” and they talked about the expectations versus reality when it comes to analyzing the criminals’ motives. They also talked about how the BAU, FBI and criminal profilers are portrayed on the show versus how they are in reality.
The club concluded their series with “Can We Be Scared Straight?” and they discussed how, “fear based programming doesn’t work,” Michaels said. The show is centered around troubled youth who are sent to actual prisons where they get the chance to talk with real prisoners. It is designed to “scare” the youth into stopping their troublesome ways before it is too late. As a club dedicated to helping the youth, Prison Ministry felt it was their mission to debunk some of these misconceptions about incarcerated people so that they could better relate to those impacted by the justice system.
If you are interested in attending Prison Ministry’s meetings, they are held Tuesdays at 8p.m. in HHC 222.