Portrayal of the Croatian Probation Service's Development in Print Media

Ines Sucic


Generally, research related to the media representation of probation is relatively rare, especially in jurisdictions without a long tradition of probation. The aims of this study were to investigate what themes emerged in constructing the public image of probation and who were probation's key promoters, and to analyse whether there was uniform presentation of probation in the media over time. The 390 newspaper articles related to probation that were published in national newspapers and magazines between 2009 and 2013 were analysed. The analysis showed that stories about probation were typically short, probation was typically not a main topic, and issues on probation were mainly superficially elaborated. Probation in Croatia has relatively low media visibility, but legislation, regulations, and expectations from probation emerged as main themes. Initially, reducing prison overcrowding and financial costs were the most frequently mentioned benefits of probation, but over time, attention shifted slightly towards focusing on the benefits of probationers' resocialisation and rehabilitation. The tone of the stories was generally positive or neutral, and politicians were the strongest advocates of the probation system. Media interest in probation fluctuated over the years, and probation has recently faced more criticism than before, most likely because of the many obstacles that it experienced in the course of becoming truly functional in practice.


media analysis, probation, newspapers, supervision, offenders

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096