Rebecca Roberts

The hall of mirrors: Criminal justice myths uncovered

Gazing into the carnival mirror

The 2003 Oxford Dictionary of English describes a myth as ‘a widely held but false belief or idea’. The authors in this issue of cjm challenge a series of criminal justice myths including what ‘crime’ is, how much is out there, who the ‘criminals’ are, and the claimed neutrality of the criminal justice system.

Jeffrey Reiman in his book, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison (2007) eloquently describes criminal justice as offering a ‘carnival mirror’ image of reality.

What bit of criminal justice could you live without?

Men are encouraged to give up shaving for the month of ‘Movember’ - to cultivate their facial fluff in a bid to raise awareness and money for the cause of testicular cancer. ‘Dry January’ is all about abstaining from booze for 31 days in what Alcohol Concern say is a bid to ‘start a new conversation about alcohol’. And let us not forget ‘Stoptober’ (October) – the month to give up smoking.


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