Rehabilitation programs in Canadian prisons and films: Reality and representation
LE3 .A278 2013
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis examines whether selected films showing rehabilitation of prisoners depict the rehabilitation process realistically. The thesis analyzes four American films that have rehabilitation as a predominant theme and compares the representation of reform in prison to the actual practice of rehabilitation in the Canadian prison system. Media analysis is concerned with decoding the often hidden messages in films that may reflect the dominant or hegemonic ideology. While media effects are controversial in cultural studies, it is important to analyze the messages before you can ask whether they have any effects. The thesis provides a detailed look at the storyline, themes and representation of rehabilitation in the four films. Rehabilitation in Canada is a complex process that includes the accreditation of specific programs and risk/need assessment, which matches inmate needs to specific program opportunities. Using interpretative analysis, I have found that there are more differences than similarities between the Canadian system and rehabilitation shown in films. The Canadian system puts an emphasis on group sessions and education whereas the fictional stories of the films put an emphasis on personal relationships. Films show a glamorized version of rehabilitation that emphasizes the ideology of individual responsibility for personal change.
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