Representation of youth: Kid Criminals

Representation of youth case study based on the documentary "Kid Criminals" (Channel 4, 2015), which follows 4 child sex offenders in a juvenile correction facility in Indianna.

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  • Created on: 28-02-15 15:21
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Case Study
Name/date text printed or released: Kid Criminals 10/2/15
Purpose of text (inform/entertain etc) and genre: Documentary inform
What is being represented? Youth
Audience Checklist
Targeting: I would say that the primary target audience would be males aged 2540 that
fall into the categories of AC1 on the socioeconomic scale. This is because they would
have an interest in international affairs and therefore would be interested in the information
being conveyed by the text.
Uses and gratifications: The text will gratify the desire for surveillance, as it is a
documentary which brings to light things that are happening in the world that we might not
realise. Also, the prison environment won't be familiar for the majority of people.
Preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings with reasons: The preferred reading of the
text would be that the boys are trying to improve their behaviour and are partaking in
therapy and specialist schooling in order to ensure that they don't reoffend once they are
released. The oppositional reading would be that the boys are criminals and don't deserve
a second chance ­ they should be in a prison rather than a correctional facility.
Mass or niche: The audience would be a mass audience as there is no prior knowledge of
the boys or the justice system required to understand the text. Furthermore, the
programme is broadcast on a mainstream channel, and would therefore reach a wide
Young and Rubicam: Would appeal to the reformer, as the programme being undertaken
by the boys is something unique that is not used in other prisons. The facility are
themselves reformers.
Representation Checklist
Stereotyping: Stereotypically, all of the sex offenders shown in the text are male. All of the
boys we meet are wearing black, thickframed glasses, which connotes intelligence. This
is stereotypical as we assume that sexoffenders would have to be intelligent in order to
have planned what they were going to do, especially at such a young age. They have
"thought everything through to a T". Garrett Clutter says that he is motivated by books, and
particularly likes horror, which infers that he may have been influenced. The sex offenders
are treated poorly by the other inmates, and are called "chomos". They are kept separated
for their own safety. It is stereotypical that the councillor sees the boys as "troubled", as

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­ for example, Clutter's father used to use militarystyle
punishments against him. Hillenberg feels intimidated by the others as he is in prison for
theft, but has been but in the sex offenders unit for inappropriate behaviour at a children's
home. Stereotypically, the boys don't want to see themselves as sex offenders, and so
often get into fights and are moved into segregation, as "it is better to be a badass than a
sex offender".…read more


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