Faculty Publications

Title

Constructing juvenile delinquency through crime drama: An analysis of law & order

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Crime drama, Juvenile delinquency, Media and crime

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture

Volume

15

Issue

1

First Page

94

Last Page

116

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the depiction of juvenile delinquency in the popular long-running crime drama, Law & Order. Using a codebook containing both fixed and open-ended responses, juvenile-focused episodes from seasons 1 through 15 of the series were coded for juvenile offender demographics, judicial process variables, and causes and motivations. Results indicate that Law & Order portrays the typical juvenile offender as a violent 16-17 year old white male, currently attending school and treated as an adult in the court process. Law & Order does not appear to consider juvenile delinquency as an urgent social problem. While the most common motivations represent individual and rational-choice based theories, there is also a superficial discussion of sociological explanations for crime and delinquency. Some characteristics of juvenile offenders are contrary to what is statistically known about officially reported juvenile delinquency. © 2008 School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany.

Original Publication Date

6-24-2008

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