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Article review on Judicial shaming

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I. Judicial shaming
A man in California was convicted of larceny by a judge in California law courts to wear
a shirt labeled,” I am on felony probation for theft”, after snatching a hand bag from a pedestrian
in the streets of California. Larceny is a crime against possession which involves taking some
one’s property unlawfully. Even if other countries have abolished this offense in the United
States and Australia it is still an offense that involves taking away personal property with the
intention of depriving possession from the owner.
The shaming penalty in this scenario was to wear a shirt with some labels on it. The word
felony and probation as written on the shirt have a very significant meaning as they distinguish
offenders from ordinary people. Felony is defined as a serious crime and the person convicted by
a court of law is called a felon. On the other hand probation is that period of supervision as
stipulated by a court of law over an offender. Therefore the man convicted was an offender on
probation as he was under supervision. By wearing a shirt with words of heavy meanings could
really bring shame to the man more so if he was an influential person in the society.
Barkan (218) illustrates shame as a very powerful emotion thus restorative justice gives
offenders a chance to experience and then remove a sense of shame on their behavior. This type
of shaming therefore is a re integrative shaming. According to Braithwaite’s shaming theory as

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the penalty focuses on the offender’s behavior instead of the offender it also emphasizes more on
the significance of shame and punishment to the offender Barkan (219). Thus Barkan (220)
further tell us that re integrative shaming usually aims at condemning the action and also seek to
re integrate the offender back to the society hence the reason why the incident of the labeled shirt
is a re integrative shaming.
The penalty is very much effective. This is because the man feels ashamed and is
disgusted by his actions hence based on the objectives of criminal justice this will serve as a
better means of correction. The penalty will serve as a lesson to any one that reads the words on
the shirt thus helps in avoid similar offenses in the near future as offenders know what awaits
them.
This article can be found in the following website
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7697.html

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