Reintegrative Shaming My theory is on reintegrative shaming, and it is a fairly common practice in today’s justice system. Reintegrative shaming is defined as a form of shaming, imposed as a sanction by the criminal justice system, that is thought to strengthen the moral bond between the offender and the community. In this posting you will find a description of reintegrative shaming, as well as an evaluation, empirical test, policy implication, and some general information about reintegrative shaming theory. Section 1: Description of the theory Reintegrative shaming is fairly new theory in itself. It was first created in 1989 by John Braithwaite as an alternative to the labeling theory. He saw two different types of reintegrative processes, there was stigmatic shaming and reintegrative shaming. Stigmatic shaming ruins the tie between the offender and society, probably for the remainder of the offender’s life. Reintegrative shaming brings the offender back into society as a law abiding citizen. The theory has not been refined yet but it is thought it is in need of refinement. Its popularity has remained the same for the most part and hasn’t lost its use in the criminal justice system yet.
Section 2: Evaluation I think this is a very reliable and useful theory. It is very applicable in today’s society and rather than create more crime we are deterring future acts of crime. As everything in life nothing is guaranteed, and with this theory it is not always effective. An experiment was done completely random. The offences in the experiment included drunk driving, property offending with personal victims, shoplifting, and violent crimes. Of the offenders they were separated into 2 different groups, court and conference. The offenders either received the RISE (reintegrative shaming experiment) treatment or they went to criminal all the time.
Section 3: Empirical Test I came across a test done a boy named David. David was arrested for vandalizing his schools bathroom. Below is the full report of the experiment: Case Study: Clearing Up an Offender's Misunderstanding David had been arrested for vandalizing a school bathroom and causing considerable damage. During the restorative justice conference, David was quiet and seemed unrepentant. The conference dragged on without much progress. Finally, David spoke up. He explained that the reason he had been so mad on the day of the incident was that his teacher not only had taken away his bag of potato chips but had then eaten the chips in front of the class, which David interpreted as an attempt to humiliate him. One of the conference participants was the teacher who had been involved in the classroom incident. The teacher said that David was wrong—the chips she had eaten were from her own lunch, and David’s chips remained unopened in her desk. She explained to David that while it was appropriate for her to take the chips away from a student during class, she would never open the bag and eat them herself. With this information, David’s demeanor changed immediately, the atmosphere in the conference shifted significantly, and the group was then able to move forward and reach a successful reparation agreement. The conference ended with David apologizing to the teacher and with David, his mother, and the school officials agreeing that David would attend counseling. As a final condition to the agreement, David agreed to be responsible for carrying notes back and forth between his mother and his teacher to ensure ongoing communication. Without the active involvement of David’s teacher in the conference, it seems unlikely that the reason for his anger would have been discovered. Although a forum other than a restorative justice conference might have held David accountable for his actions, he probably would have remained bitter and continued to feel that he had been treated unfairly—first by the teacher in the classroom and then by those who held him responsible for the damage he had caused. Including David and his teacher in the conference and providing an opportunity for dialog had several benefits: David gained insight into the teacher’s actions, the group came to understand David’s behavior, and David had the opportunity to make amends to those harmed by his actions. (Restorative Justice Conferences as an Early Response to Young Offenders, Juvenile Justice Bulletin • August 2001) This was a qualitative experiment done with one offender. The sample is David who vandalized the school bathroom. The variables are the potato chips, teacher, parents, and the counseling. The steps taken were to have David receive treatment and he was to have a note from his parents confirming the treatment. He was able to continue to go to school and they found the reason he was angry.
Section 4: Policy implication There is a program in effect in Anoka, Minnesota called Police accountability conferencing. It is tied to the theory by making the kids feel shameful, only when they feel remorse can they begin their integration back into society. It reduces crime by putting a face on the victims, its not just senseless offenses anymore; It will make offenders think before trying to violate again. The example provided by an article I read involved 3 boys who broke windows at their school. They were sat with their parents, principal, police officer, and the maintenance worker who repaired the window. They were then told by the police how serious their crime was, their parents expressed their disappointment, and the maintenance worker explained how long it took him to repair the window. Once the kids started to show remorse for their actions, they began to reestablish the bonds that were broken. The policy has been proven effective in Anoka, Minnesota. References: 1. Holding Kids Accountable: Shaming with Compassion Sgt. H. Allen Campbell and Andrew C. Revering Retrieved from http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0402-accountable.html 2. Restorative Justice Conferences as an Early Response to Young Offenders Juvenile Justice Bulletin • August 2001 Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/jjbul2001_8_2/page2.html 3. Canberra Reintegrative Shaming Experiments Retrieved from http://guide.helpingamericasyouth.gov/programdetail.cfm?id=13 4. Criminology Today, An Integrative Introduction 4th Edition Frank Schmalleger page 257