Shielded from Public View: An Analysis of the Media’s Construction of Deaths in Canadian Custody

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Kiefer, Janine




This study explores how the deaths of four incarcerated individuals are constructed by Canadian news media outlets. For this research, I conducted a multiple case study concerning the deaths of Edward Snowshoe, Kinew James, Matthew Hines and Adam Kargus, all of whom died while incarcerated in a provincial or federal facility in Canada. Rooted in a cultural criminology framework and, utilizing Brown's (2009) concept of penal spectatorship and Butler's (2004) concept of grievable life, I explore how the media presents the deaths of these individuals in ways that may confer or restrict grievability and how these representations may undermine or reinforce the legitimacy of the prison. The findings of this research suggest that while these narratives may present certain criticisms of the prison, they ultimately rely on a framework, which reinforces the necessity of the prison and subjugates other forms of critical knowledge.


Criminology and Penology




Carleton University

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