Central Park Five Ken Burns

Central Park Five Ken Burns Analysis Outline

I. Introduction.

A. Introduction to the topic.

The Central Park Five is a documentary by Ken Burns talking about five teenagers of color who the court wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York’s Central Park in 1989. The conviction impacted their lives majorly, one of the impacts being their education, which was disrupted by the sentence since they had to wait for over twelve years to receive their high school diplomas (Davidow, 2016).

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B. Objectives of this paper.

This paper aims to outline the film’s analysis to understand the justice system’s workings and the media’s role in imparting justice. It will give a clear pathway to understanding the teenager’s issues from when they were grilled to when the court convicted them for crimes they did not commit. The paper will also point out the problem of miscarried justice and its consequences.


II. Background.

On April 20, 1989, the body of a woman almost dying was found in Central Park. In a matter of a few days, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, and Yousef Salaam confess to her rape and beating after a long time of engaging interrogation at the hands of seasoned homicide detectives. The teenagers serve their time between 6 and 13 years before another man who is a convicted rapist, Matias Reyes, admits to the crime, and DNA testing supports his confession (Davidow, 2016).


A. Overview

The background shows that the justice system did not follow proper channels before the five boys’ conviction and sentencing (Beardsley & Teresa, 2017). Justice being the central theme in this paper, was not served to them. The jury should have based their findings on the evidence provided and not just confessions forced into the kids. It follows that.


i. Proper channels to be followed by the justice system before conviction.

The court did not follow proper channels before making the final decision. The boys’ samples were to be compared by DNA experts with the one found in the woman’s body. The court did not follow the procedure, and therefore the boys are convicted on mere confessions, which were not substantiated.


ii. Justice should be served and not denied.

According to the five’s conviction and eventual sentencing, it is crystal clear that the court did not serve them justice. Instead, the court denied them justice as they did not hear them and did not use evidence. Therefore, justice systems must come up with ways of ensuring that justice has been served by using what is on the table and not theory alone.


B. Importance of Justice.

Justice is an essential moral value if served correctly. It brings about fairness and protection to the innocent (Beardlsey& Teresa, 2017). The guilty are convicted and punished accordingly while being helped to stop offending. Justice keeps order across the country, keeping the citizens safe.


III. Media Role in the Criminal Justice System.

Media has proven to be of great importance in discussing justice issues during the last century. It serves to dig up justice systems’ inner workings, defining the police, prosecutors, courts, and corrections’ public image (Rousset& Griffin, 2019). Fictional and Documentary storylines such as the Central Park Five cover crime as they unfold. Media upholds acceptable justice practices and ridicules the justice systems that deny justice to the subjects involved. Neither the media nor the criminal justice system could operate without each other (Rousset& Griffin, 2019). The press helped redeem the Central Park Five’s names by airing the documentary, revealing the right person who committed the heinous act. The airing gave the five a chance to prove their innocence.


IV. Courts

Courts, run by judges, make sure that every individual follows the rule of law. They have a significant and vital role in ensuring that they serve justice correctly (Beardsley & Teresa, 2017). In the case involving the five, the court should have guaranteed that authorities had not coerced the suspects into making the confessions they made by ensuring that the accuser brought concrete evidence on the table. The evidence was the factor that should have incriminated them and not the confessions (Davidow, 2016). The evidence should be lookedat by the court calmly and rationally and produce an unbiased rule.


V. Conclusion

In summary,the court must serve justice, as in the case involving the five teenagers who served sentences not meant for them. Justice systems must work with all the stakeholders in harmony, from the police, prosecutor, media to the jury. The collaboration will ensure the achievement of an open and fair justice system. If this had happened before their conviction, we would not discuss how the court denied them justice. Therefore, the justice system must be following all the protocols needed to ensure fairness.



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