Criminal Justice in the Media

Social Media is one of the largest platforms in the world today. Jobs are being offered strictly off the use of social media. It is an effective way to communicate with people from different parts of the world. Often times, we type a quick tweet, Facebook status update, or post a photo on Instagram; not remembering there are consequences for our actions.

The role of Social Media in the criminal justice system is growing. The trend is leading to increased demand for officers to know how to actively use social media, and promote positive uses; rather than negative.

Crime Justice in the Media is a course offered once every two years here at Dominican College. The course is taught by Dr. Mark Meachem, the Director of Arts and Sciences.

The course focuses on the three main areas of the criminal justice system; the courts, police officers and criminals. It discusses the various stereotypes of police officers, criminals and the court system, and how they often are depicted on television shows, movies and newscasts. Students are encouraged to look at how criminals and police officers are shown on video, and how they are mentioned throughout news reports.

There are both pros and cons to social media and the criminal justice system. The pros include the police access to unprecedented information that is obtained from social media profiles. Social media has opened up a door to post anything that has happened to you, with the possibility of it going viral.

The cons are posing risks for young users. Social media has been used to facilitate new crimes including revenge porn, cyberbullying and tracking potential victims for robbery or stalking. Performance crimes, which is where individuals boast about their criminal behaviors to their followers online, is the newest crime to the social media world.

Social media is turning into a tool for victim-blaming, or a weapon to be used against friends and family members of victims of crimes. This is known as secondary victimization. Social media is here to stay, and it will only continue to evolve. It is important for police officials and citizens to be aware of what they are posting on their social media platforms, and how it may impact their futures.