The study probes the perceptions of criminal justice majors. In essence, the study aims to determine if the formal educational background of a criminal justice major is a vital factor in the shaping of an individual’s perception of the criminal justice system as compared to those who do not have any.
Students from the university were sampled to serve as the respondents for the study who were divided into two groups: criminal justice majors and non majors. The study’s assumption was: there is no significant difference between the perception of the criminal justice majors and non majors.
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Chapter I: Introduction
Over the years, studies have been made to shed light on the issue of criminal justice as perceived by the general public and by the criminal justice majors. The perception of the general pubic and the criminal justice majors, of course, differs in a lot of aspects.
Logically, non criminal justice majors or the public mainly rely on the mass media for the information that they need while the criminal justice majors have a broader background on the issue of crime and criminal justice.
Criminal justice majors are usually exposed with researches that would explain phenomena in the field of criminal justice. Thus, there is a definite difference between the perception of the criminal justice majors and the public (Tsoudis, 2000).
But then, an exploratory study is needed to further back up this claim. Does the education background of the criminal justice majors has something to do with their perception of crime and criminal justice?
How can this educational background of the criminal justice majors would eventually influence or affect the perception of the general public? How influential can the media be in shaping the public’s perception of crime and criminal justice?
These questions are only few that have to be answered to prove that the claims of the previous studies are valid and logical.
The media has also been the main source of information among the public. Undeniably, groups of people mainly rely their notion and perceptions over things on the information that they consume provided by the media.
There have been debates over the influence of the media and its tendency to veer away from truth. Some media outfits are guilty of exaggerating news items especially those dealing with crimes for the simple reason of getting a “controversial scoop” or because they have doing it unconsciously.
Nadler (2005) writes, “Such media play can undermine the public’s perception of the legitimacy of law enforcement generally. This loss of legitimacy and distrust of the fairness of the legal system, can in turn lead to more widespread lawbreaking.”
Connie McNeely (1995) writes that most of what Americans understand about law enforcement comes from what they view in the media, mainly television and movies.
Aside from these media experiences, many Americans do not have the first hand knowledge of the inter-workings of border patrol or general law enforcement at the community level.
True enough, media have the great role of shaping the minds of its audience.
Because her insights are somewhat outdated in this day and age of television shows like CSI and 24, it would be interesting to carry out further study of this idea. Still her study warrants close examination as she furthers her argument by writing:
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