The Pros And Cons Of Public Shaming

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The idea of public embarrassment or shaming has been a way to cause a lasting impact on a person who has done something wrong, so that he will be less likely to do it again. From the Puritan days back in the late 16th century to the present day, public shaming has always seemed to be a way to punish people who have done something that is not socially acceptable. Public shaming can be a very strong form of punishment and can be immoral depending on how it is done. Our Constitution, more specifically the 8th amendment, forbids punishments that are or can be labeled as cruel and unusual, so as long as public shaming has certain restraints then it is acceptable and can be more effective than incarceration. Public shaming is when a person is humiliated in public instead of receiving jail time. Of course this could not get a person out of jail for offensive crimes such as sexual assault, homicide, or distributing drugs. Public shaming would be used for less offensive crimes such as petty theft, littering, or missed child support payments. These could be considered “shame-worthy offenses” according to Heather Wilhelm. Although many people think this tactic is immoral, public shaming is like any other type of punishment. It has its pros and cons just like anything else. In an essay “Shame Is Worth a Try,” Dan M. Kahan argues that shame should be used because it is “cheap, efficient, and humane alternative to imprisonment.” This is the main reason public shaming should be used.
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