A captive audience? The media use of prisonersA captive audience? The media use of prisoners
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
European journal of communication. - London, 1986, currens
15(2000):4, p. 529-544
Studies on the media use of incarcerated persons often depart from a narrow theoretical perspective. Inspired by the media effects tradition or by the uses and gratifications approach, they concentrate on the plausible (causal) relationships between the media preferences of perpetrators and the type of offences they have committed, or on the therapeutic functions of mass media in prison settings. This research note presents the results of an extensive quantitative and qualitative investigation into the media use of convicts in five Flemish penitentiaries. The underlying theoretical model integrates both criminological and communication insights to explain the media consumption of individuals inside prison walls. More particularly, the `imported' sociodemographic and criminal background characteristics of prisoners, their concrete living conditions and the (stress-inducing) interaction between the depriving prison environment and the individual, are considered to be the most important determinants of their media use.