• 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...


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.


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.


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. Is the British penal system effective? Most of the evidence points to prison not ...

    Binding Over is a sentence used after a verbal undertaking by an offender that they will be of good behaviour. It is mostly used as a punishment for a minor public order offence. If the offender fails to abide with the order they usually face a financial forfeit.

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

    It is not an absolute prediction that everyone with these characteristics will commit crime (Alexiadis, 2004:49). A final problematic issue is the methodology in the studies of biological positivism. The methodology used might be labelled as simplistic and consequently the conclusions about 'real' or 'significant' differences between criminals and non-criminals can in fact be highly speculative (Department of Criminology, 2006/07:3-9).

  1. Gun Control. In this paper, the author will discuss the magnitude of gun control ...

    The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994 imposes a five-day waiting period on the purchase of a handgun and requires that local law enforcement agencies conduct background checks on purchasers of handguns. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 banned sale, manufacture, introduction, or possession of a number of specific types of assault weapons.

  2. Criminological Theory: Explaining Crime. This essay will look at how the subcultural theories ...

    When looking at the control theories, Hirschi's theory of social bonds may be able to help explain shoplifting. The four social bonds identified by Hirschi are said to prevent deviant behaviour if the bonds are strong (Newburn, 2007, pp.

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

    Child Abuse and Neglect, 22(11), 1079-1091. Kutash, S.B. (1978). 'Psychoanalytic Theories of Aggression', in I.L. Kutash, S.B. Kutash., and L.B. Schlesinger (eds.), Violence: Perspectives on Murder and Aggression. California: Jossey-Bass. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. Schmutzler, N. and Vivian, D. (1994). Positivity in marriage: the role of discord and physical aggression against wives.

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

    core element that separates civilized from uncivilized countries: The center of ideals of every Western government is in its judicial system. Here are the symbols of all of those great principles which give dignity to the individual, which gives independence to the businessman, and which not only make the State

  1. Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield. Since being convicted of his crimes, Ed ...

    While she was alive Ed was able to control himself and as long as he had the love and company of his mother he needed little outside interference from the world. He was content with obeying his mother's rule, being socially isolated and masturbating to his own private fantasies (that more than likely at times probably even included Augusta).

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

    The detrimental effects of âtotal institutionsâ date back to the critical assessment of Goffmanâs (1961) Asylums; although âinstitutional neurosisâ has been studied in the United Kingdom by Barton (1966). Both identified similar negative effects including âloss of contact with the outside world; enforced idleness; loss of responsibility, possession and friendsâ (Barton, 1966: pp63).

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