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Copspeak: 7 Ways Journalists Use Police Jargon to Obscure the Truth

  • The close relationship between reporters and police is often marked by diffusion of language from the police PR team to the front page. In the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, here are some examples of how “copspeak” — or jargon used by police departments — is internalized by journalists covering police violence, and how it affects the public’s perception of crime and police brutality.
  • Related: Media Is Everywhere, But Real Journalism Is Dying

Adam Johnson, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

July 11, 2016 | 1. “Officer-involved shooting”

Probably the most popular and most frequently criticized example of copspeak, “officer-involved shooting” is a textbook example of what Robert Jay Lifton called a “thought-terminating cliche.” It describes an act of violence without assigning blame and is almost never used for when a police officer is the victim, only when the police have shot someone — justified or not.

By describing an event alongside the person who did it without connecting the two, “officer-involved shooting” vaguely alludes to what happened without the emotional response this would normally evoke. “Such phraseology,” Orwell wrote in “Politics and the English Language,” “is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.”

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

Full story … Media Is Everywhere, But Real Journalism Is Dying, Dan Tynan, Quora / Huffington Post

  • Watch the movie Spotlight. That kind of journalism hasn’t disappeared entirely. But it’s more and more rare, and one day it very well might. And no one will be left to report that story.
  • Related: The Media Is Enabling Trump’s Divide-And-Conquer Strategy



US Prison Costs Grossly Exceed Public Education Spending

  • The relative modern day cost of incarceration in the US relative to public expenditures on elementary-secondary education strongly supports social policy planning that puts education first. Assuming that the total number of people imprisoned in the United States was 1.2 million in 2010, the average per-inmate cost was $31,286 and ranged from $14,603 in Kentucky to $60,076 in New York. In contrast, the US government spent $602 billion on the nearly 50 million elementary-secondary students in public schools in the US
  • Related: The West’s War on Children

Knoema To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 | The decrease in the national crime rate in the US during the past two decades was insufficient to offset the cost to US taxpayers to manage prisons because of the simultaneous increase in the rate of incarceration during the period. Between 1991 and 2013, the national crime rate fell from 1,311 to 689 offenses per 100,000 people. In absolute terms, 8.5 million fewer crimes were committed in 2013 compared to 1991. While the crime rate decreased, the number of state inmates grew by 200 percent nationwide, reaching a total incarcerated population of 1.6 million in 2008. Another 723,131 inmates were confined in local jails for a total adult inmate population of 2.3 million, or roughly 1 in 100 adults in the United States.

These trends in US criminal justice have come at a cost to American taxpayers. State corrections budgets have nearly quadrupled in the past two decades. Despite this alarming figure, official correction budgets account for only a portion of the financial obligations a state incurs when it sentences an individual to prison. The Vera Institute of Justice estimates that the total taxpayer cost of prisons, including additional indirect costs that fall outside correction budgets, was $39 billion in 2010. This is $5.4 billion more than official $33.5 billion total spending of state correction departments. These indirect costs vary widely, according to the Vera Institute, from 1 percent of the total cost of prisons in Arizona to 34 percent in Connecticut.

Knoema: Smarter research with the world's statistics in your hands

Full story … 


The West’s War on Children, Bruce Frohnen, The Imaginative Conservative / Intellectual Takeout

  • The prejudice against children begins from an immoderate desire for order.
  • Special Project | The War on Children: Week Ending  January 9, 2016


Meet the Full-Service Social Media Secretary for Prisoners

How Renea Royster gives prisoners access to the digital world.

Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project Renea Royster at her son Phil's apartment in Perrysburg, Ohio. Maurice Chammah/The Marshall Project 

06.28.2016 | Early one May morning, Renea Royster arrived at her son’s apartment, pulled out her laptop, and scrolled through the dozens of messages from prisoners that had collected in her inbox overnight. She began her daily grind of copy-paste — moving messages sent via CorrLinks, an email service available to federal inmates, to the Facebook pages they had paid her to create in their names.

Renea read out a post that one of her clients had asked her to put on his Facebook page. It was a paean to Hillary Clinton. “Everybody stops and looks her way, and when she talks everybody shuts up and listens,” she read aloud to her son Phil, who chuckled. “That’s the other type of shit that makes me hard-up! Go Hillary! You are one bad bitch!”

Maurice Chammah is a staff writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for a 2014 Livingston Award for a story on the decline of the death penalty, and a 2011-2012 Fulbright fellow in Egypt. He plays the violin and has toured with the band Mother Falcon.

Full story … 


David Perry on Disabilities and Police Violence

The disability community is routinely marginalized in the media; in this case, the absence makes life-saving responses harder to get at.

David Perry, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest. 29, 2016 | This week on CounterSpin: Media present the debate over police violence in black communities as almost hopelessly fraught, as it’s tied up with the country’s history of white supremacy and racial division. That can’t explain the unwillingness to address another increasingly undeniable reality: the frequency with which law enforcement use of force involves people with disabilities, and the particular factors at work in those interactions. The disability community is routinely marginalized in the media; in this case, the absence makes life-saving responses harder to get at. We’ll talk about police use of force and disability with journalist and professor David Perry.

Full story (audio) … MP3 Link


Video Shows How British Police React to a Teen with a Toy Gun — Putting US Cops to Shame

  • For the naysayers who think that this case is an isolated act of heroism, think again. The lack of deadly force is so common by police in European countries that it’s not only been documented multiple times, but it’s been caught on film multiple times.
  • It is high time this country looks closely at the way it trains its police force.
  • Related: How do police handle violence in countries where officers don’t carry guns?

Matt Agorist, Free Thought Project 25, 2016 | In the United States police kill people on average, every 8 hours. Very few of these deaths are ever ruled unjustified, even when police are caught on video killing unarmed people who pose absolutely no threat. 

The escalation of deadly force by American police is unprecedented when compared to the rest of the first world.

So far this month, American police have killed 66 people.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. 

Full story … 

Related: Now you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter. Police don't need guns to be effective. (Reuters/ David Moir)

How do police handle violence in countries where officers don’t carry guns? Olivia Goldhill, Quartz 

  • It doesn’t help that the law in the United States gives fairly wide scope for police violence. Under the European Convention of Human Rights, police can only shoot if it’s “absolutely necessary” in order to achieve a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Meanwhile, in the US, police officers can shoot if there’s “reasonable” perception of a grave and imminent threat, which is a far more subjective standard.
  • Related: Good Cops Turn In Their Own Officer After He’s Caught on Dashcam Beating Handcuffed Man