Public Shaming And Sonsequences

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Public Shaming is where a criminal is humiliated in public instead of being punished by law or other measures. Shaming has changed its techniques and arguably has produced effective results for minor crimes. Public Shaming uses several tactics, including mental abuse to criminals. People who have committed minor crimes make up the most of prison population, and sometimes a more logical way to punish them instead of wasting tax dollars. By leaving them with violent people, public shaming is a better option. People don’t want to be left out; they want to be part of the society. Public Shaming should be enforced in our society and will really benefit people in the future.

Public Shaming as a punishment has a long history dating back to 1640 when ‘’Purtitans placed people in stocks in the village square and they were required to wear a scarlet letter – or some other display of their wrongdoing-to show shame upon themselves.’’( David Rosen April 2016). Today Public Shaming can be used in government, society and sports. In December 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry, ‘’invoked role of public shaming to ensure that countries comply with the then newly-adopted Paris climate-change accord.’’( David Rosen April 2016). In the interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, he proclaimed: “There’s a lot of pledges. There are a lot of promises. But there seems to be no mechanism for getting countries to comply other than wagging your finger at them and shaming them. Am I wrong?” ( Patt Morrison Columnist, May 24, 2014). Public Shaming can be even used in families. Some parents are using public shaming as an alternative to spanking. Some have posted videos of their kids wearing a sandwich board detailing bad behavior or poor school test results. ‘’Teens, especially teen girls, are being shamed on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Vine’’. ( David Rosen April 2016). The unanswered question is whether public shaming is a form of cruel and unusual punishment?’’ Another example is in sports, in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins had a situation when a player had to quit because he was being harassed by his teammates.

In defense, the teammate said that it was just a team talk and we were all having fun; but this bullying also took place in text messages. The player is now being publicly disgraced for harassing his teammate and being racist. Even though he didn’t commit a crime, he was being very ignorant and this can be corrected with public shaming as well. Public Shaming changed its techniques. Social media plays a major role which doesn’t always turn out well. Shaming criminals was a fundamental part of America’s criminal justice system. ‘’While the sentences recognize hope for the individual, they can also be dehumanizing,” said Professor Mark Osler of the St. Thomas University of Law. An other example was in 1840 there was an accident when there was intent of one judge who sentenced a man who was convicted of stealing a pair of pants. The judge told him to sit in the stocks as a punishment.’’ Public shaming sentences began to fade around that time. Though some Public Shaming punishments such as the pillory continued till early 1900’s, which at some part worked well for the society. Urbanization and migration, say historians, undermined the use of public shaming because people no longer feared the condemnation of their communities. Imprisonment became the punishment of choice, yet states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts still tried to shame prisoners by allowing the public to watch them “as if in a zoo.” (Brain Palmer November 15, 2012). People argue that the system of imprisoning criminals is nothing more than a version of shaming them. Another statement was said by Moskos, author of a book “In Defence of Flogging, said the idea of humiliating punishments is to give people convicted of minor offenses an alternative to prison.’’ ( Moskos page 18). Public Shaming has really undermined the equality and character of justice in this country and everywhere around us. One big example was when a judge imposed a shaming sentence. In April 2014, Ohio Municipal Court, Judge Gayle Williams ordered Edmond Aviv to stay on streets for five hours with a sign saying.

“I AM A BULLY! I pick on disabled children, and I can intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Community.” Aviv begged no contest to the conduct for harassing a neighboring family.’’( Joanna Weiss Global Columnist, April 17, 2014). Let’s face it. We all make mistakes We are humans and we are not perfect, but there should be consequences for these mistakes. Today the stakes are higher because of the social media. Apologies, regrets, punishments, and embarrassments are not enough these days. We have the court of public opinion and the worldwide web of shame to deal with as well. Public Shaming sometimes affects people who don’t deserve it, especially with the crueler people on the internet. There was a story some years ago about a 13 year old girl. According to source ( Tribune Media Ware). She committed a suicide after her father took a video of him cutting off her hair as a punishment. The other example was about a mother from South Carolina who made her son walk around Walmart wearing a tutu and a women’s undergarment with the word ‘’bad’’ written on his head. I also heard a story from my friends some weeks ago about a mother who made her kids give away all toys and took pictures of them crying and posted it on Facebook for likes and shares. These are examples of places where it is inappropriate to use this tool, and I think that this really serves as a major contrast to situations when public shaming helps.

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Public Shaming has negative psychological effects and consequences depending on the punishments. It can cause depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental problems. People who get humiliated may develop variety of symptoms like, “apathy, paranoia, anxiety and PTSD.”( Ross Ellis contributor 10/03/2017). Rage may appear on a individual, lashing themselves out against innocent people. According to the Pew Research Center, 71 % of American adults have witnessed online harassment, and 70 % of young Americans say they have been victims themselves and some Public Shaming. Experts predict that 40 % of Americans will be digitally shamed. If you post or make comments online doesn’t mean that your post or comment are appropriate. Hiding behind the device and publicly shaming people is bad and hurting the people around us is unnecessary. Some people find it funny, but it’s not. Let’s not forget that this can result in suicide and mental problems. Shame can lead to only when humiliated inmates blamed others. When they didn’t – when they were humiliated they accepted the blame, inmates were no more likely to return to crime. ‘’ The experience of Shame is a liability in some ways, ‘’but in other ways it is adoptive perhaps even a strength.’’ (Marc Weber Chapter 8). The powerful desire to hide away the shame effects.

People who are experiencing shame want to be left alone, so it doesn’t lead to any more problems. Looking at psychology of Public Shaming is different for all people and they act for their reasons and we don’t know what’s on their mind. But they don’t understand the effect of others and how can it affect them. Think before you do anything. In reading these two essays “Condemn the Crime, not the Person,’’ by June Tangney and “Shame is worth a try,” by Dan M. Kahan. People will see sides of Public Shame. The two essays are different from each other and with different point of views. In contrast essay written by Dan Kahan, supports the claim by saying how effective a form of punishment it is. Public Shaming is an efficient form of punishment for minor crimes and can lead to the feeling of public humiliation and loss. ‘’Public Shaming can be efficient and should be embraced. It is judicial punishment imposed on a convicted criminal that includes humiliation instead of imprisonment.’’ June Tangney in her essay writes, ‘’A number of social commentators have urged America to embrace Public Shaming and stigmatization as cheaper and effective alternatives for a broad range of nonviolent crime. (Tangney 570).’’ I think it’s true. It’s a less expensive form of punishment, for costs because they are escalating. Public Shaming is way to have nonviolent crimes. Also ‘’Kahan says in his essays about ‘’A series of studies, by Harold Grasmick, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma, suggests that the prospect of public disgrace exerts greater pressure to comply with the law than does the threat of imprisonment and the other formal punishments.’’ (Kahan 576).

The technique of Public Shaming would cause humiliation and make the criminal confirm the law, which means then do not want to be looked down in society. ‘’Tangney mentions a good point on how humiliation may cause this feeling, such humiliation is typically accompanied by a sense of shrinking of being small, worthless, and powerless and by sense of being exposed.’’ (Tangney 570). Tangney also says it does not motivate changes in behavior. Also Shaming someone makes them repeat the crimes they did. She also adds,’’ That Shame leads to feelings of guilt, and to stop someone from bad behavior making them feel helping the society by doing community service to forget the guilt and past crimes.’’ Also Kahan states, ‘’On the contrary it is as if the criminal can just pay off their crime by doing some community services. That does not stop them from doing it again. By Shaming someone it will be imbedded in their brain that it is frowned upon in society.’’ By looking at these two essays the both teach us about Public Shaming, they help us understand it and their point of view and how they also experienced these tough stuff. But looking at these two essays it hard to say that shame is cruel. I think shame is clearly not as humiliating as imprisonment.


Public Shaming is a very effective tool when used properly and for the correct situations as history has shown us. However, we have to recognize that is inappropriate in many of situations like many of the examples that I used. It is important to say that in this age of social media that we have to be very careful because it can cause a great deal of pain and suffering to people that don’t deserve it and especially if it is a person that cannot handle it, it will end badly.

In conclusion I would like to say in the proper way public shaming has many benefits and can save tax dollars and people having to go to jail for insignificant things, and if we as a society use it properly it can help out society a lot.

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