• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Shaming is an under-used resource in crime control. Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shaming is an under-used resource in crime control. Discuss. It has been suggested that shaming is an under-used resource in crime control. This raises issues over what shaming is, how it works, and what affect it can have on crime control and crime rates. To address these questions, I begin by explaining what shaming is and how it is used in practice, looking at both retributive and reintegrative shaming. I move on to discuss the weaknesses and strengths of shaming, incorporating discussion of theories underpinning why people commit crimes for the purposes of illustrating how far shaming may work. Finally, I consider how successful use of shaming could impact on crime rates and demonstrate the potential wider effect on rehabilitation, recidivism and prison populations. Shaming takes two forms, retributive and reintegrative (McLaughlin et al, 2003, p6; Hughes, 2001, p285). Retributive shaming involves stigmatising the offender, with public contempt shown for their actions. A consequence may be a prison sentence, excluding the individual from society. Emphasis is on punishing the criminal act and not on any possible prevention of future crime (McLaughlin et al, 2003 pp6-7). This is the standard model of law enforcement and crime control in the UK (Hughes, 2001, p258). Reintegrative shaming has a different focus. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the offender condemns their condemners and appeals to the higher loyalties of their own subculture, both techniques of which affirm the validity of their actions (Sykes and Matza, pp234-236). As a crucial component of reintegrative shaming is acknowledgment of wrong-doing and acceptance of responsibility for their actions by the offender with an accompanying will to put things right, it can be seen that techniques of neutralisation form a powerful barrier to shaming, and are a fundamental weakness in its use as a crime control resource. Another weakness in the application of shaming is society itself. Braithwaite (2003, pp396-398) demonstrates how shaming works well in Japan. However, Japanese culture is more homogenous than is Western society, and holds respect in higher esteem (Hughes, 2001, p285). Shaming is used to great effect in New Zealand, where family conferences have success in determining responses to offending. But this relies on a strong family-orientated, communitarian society (Hughes, 2001, p286). The UK does not have this societal philosophy, with increasing numbers of divorce, lone parents and geographically dispersed families (Hall, 1998, pp10-11) Furthermore, research shows that poorly-educated, unemployed young men from ethic minority backgrounds feature most prominently in court proceedings, crime figures and prison (Box, 2003, p272; Sparks, 2001, p216). There is a worry that shaming could be used to further marginalise and remove power from already subordinate groupings, as happened to the Aboriginal people of Australia (Hughes, 2001, p288). ...read more.

Conclusion

On a lower level, it teaches people right from wrong, so that on a higher level the notion of committing criminal acts becomes unthinkable. Shaming goes beyond deterrence and connects individuals with their inner conscience. It can be seen that shaming has both strengths and weaknesses, with critics arguing that offenders will exploit restorative measures for their own gain. In addition, offenders' motives for criminality impact on how successful shaming may be; not all offenders lose family and peer status through offending, rendering shaming useless. Furthermore, techniques of neutralisation dilute the possible effects of shaming, as offenders rationalise their behaviour and cast themselves as the victim. This all sounds depressing, and shaming has a tough battle to fight. But the arguments for shaming are compelling. By engaging an individual's moral-emotional response to their own behaviour, shaming can cut youth crime and in doing so perhaps halt potential career criminals. Recidivism is reduced and, in the long-term, so too could be prison populations, allowing the fostering of more successful rehabilitation programmes. The end result could be more effective prisons promoting alternatives to crime for offenders upon release, less crime, fewer victims and enhanced societal quality of life. Shaming may be seen by some as a risk but, should the criminal justice system and society at large have the courage to pursue it as a crime control resource, the rewards could be very high. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Criminology essays

  1. Choose two criminological theories and critically assess their usefulness in enhancing our understanding of ...

    the presence of their husband could relay on the presumption that they acted under force, except for murder charges. Feminist's theories have helped stress the need for equality because the reasons for which females commit crime are basically similar to male.

  2. Outline and critically discuss the way in which your studies have developed your understanding ...

    children that were conceived and/or born whilst the mother was in her teens. After seeing first hand what a great job they do, shaped my opinion that it should not matter what age you are when you have a child as long as that child is loved and cared for.

  1. Restorative justice is currently hailed as a progressive way to deal with young offenders. ...

    This way, society can begin to understand what leads to crime, and offenders can see what crime leads to. Miers et al (2001) conducted a 15-month study in Great Britain, which aimed to study the effectiveness of restorative schemes conducted over a period of time.

  2. Compare positivist approaches to crime with at least two other perspectives discussed in the ...

    Biological characteristics of an individual are only a part of a multiple factor approach to criminal behaviour. Another part is addressed by the psychological positivist approach. Psychological Positivism 'Psychological positivism begs the question: Is violence and criminal behaviour the result of mental illness?'

  1. Domestic violence. The following essay will concentrate on patriarchal-terrorism (Gilchrist et al. 2004) meaning ...

    Volume 6 Number 2, pp 3-36. Spielberger , C.D., Jacobs, G.A., Russell, S. and Crane, R.S. (1983). 'Assessment of anger: the state-trait anger scale,' in J. Butcher and C.D: Spielberger (Eds.), Advances in Personality Assessment, Vol. 2. Hillsdale, NJ Erlbaum, pp. 159-187. Stanko, E.A. (2001). The Day to count: Reflections on a Methodology to Raise Awareness About the Impact of Domestic Violence in the UK'.

  2. In this Critique I talk about crime prevention, how government schemes have helped in ...

    One important criticism was that the social preconditions in the locality for setting up crime prevention, particularly social prevention, had not been understood. Such were hardest to set up where they were most needed. Neighbourhood Watch schemes were, for example, enthusiastically adopted by middle class communities whose crime rates were

  1. Perceptions of wrongful convictions amongst Americans working in the criminal justice system.

    a great righteous protector, but at the same time keeps it in its place?. It is in this institution that we find concentrated to a greater extent than any other, the symbols of moral and rational government. (1965: 123) In a 1996 message to the U.S.

  2. Imprisonment should only be used as a last resort due to its long-term negative ...

    Illustrated, in Tony Parker?s, The Unknown Citizen (1963); as a place that conditioned individuals; making normal society unbearable, and impossible to readjust. Sykes showed how the ?pains of imprisonment? not only included loss, but how prisoners are devoured with ?frustration and deprivations?that attack the very foundations of the prisoner?s being? (Sykes, 1958: pp78-79).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work