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Shame

Shame is a powerful emotion. Some have suggested that restorative justice allows offenders to experience and then remove a sense of shame for their behaviour. These articles discuss the usefulness or destructiveness of including shame as a part of restorative justice theory and practice.

Barnard, Jayne W. Reintegrative Shaming in Corporate Sentencing
The Organizational Sentencing Guidelines were intended to be an organic document to be altered as experience suggests additional ways in which sentencing procedures could be more effective in minimizing criminal activities.201 This Article proposes an amendment to the Guidelines, designed (1) to increase the likelihood of corporate self-reporting of crimes and cooperation with investigators in determining the scope and extent of a corporation’s crime, and (2) to increase the likelihood that corporations— especially public ones—will be more attentive to legal compliance values, and more assiduous in establishing internal compliance programs. Both of these objectives are salutary and achievable. (excerpt)
Benson, M.L. "Emotions and Adjudication: Status Degradation among White-Collar Criminals."
A study uses interview data to explore the emotional experiences of 30 white-collar offenders. Adjudication generated anger and rage, as well as shame and embarrassment, in the respondents. Both anger and rage have potentially dysfunctional effects in that they undermine commitment to the legitimacy of the law. Following Braithwaite (1989), it is argued that the U.S. justice system, which is based on "disintegrative" rather than "reintegrative" shaming, is counterproductive.
Botchkovar, Ekaterina V. and Tittle, Charles R.. Crime, Shame, and Reintegration in Russia
The article begins with an extensive examination of shaming theory and prior research relating to it. Braithwaite’s shaming theory posits that reintegrative shaming inhibits future misbehavior and that those who participate in the shaming process are less likely to misbehave in the first place. Based on this examination, the authors hypothesize that: 1) participation in shaming is negatively associated with misbehavior; 2) having been reintegratively shamed is negatively associated with misbehavior; and 3) stigmatizing experience is positively associated with future misconduct. Four subsidiary hypotheses were also examined. Data were collected from interviews conducted in July and August 2002 with 224 Russian citizens, of which 70 percent were women. Dependent variables measured were the chance of personally committing one of four specific offenses; independent variables were participating in gossip, being reintegratively shamed, and being disintegratively shamed. Analyses of the data resulted in mixed evidence about shaming theory. The results suggest that contrary to the contention that reintegrative shaming would have a positive effect while disintegrative shaming would have a negative effect, the results provide evidence that shaming of any kind, whether reintegrative or disintegrative, may have negative consequences. The findings also show that participating in gossip is unrelated to future deviance and that guilt or fear of losing respect for others for potential misbehavior do not seem to be related to past shaming experiences nor do they mediate supposed relationships between past shaming experiences and misconduct. These findings, along with previous research, suggest that shaming theory may need further refinement. Study limitations are discussed. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.
Botchkovar, Ekaterina V. and Tittle, Charles R.. Delineating the scope of Reintegrative Shaming theory: An explanation of contingencies using Russian data.
Drawing on predictions derived from self-control theory, general strain theory, and deterrence theory, we attempt to improve Braithwaite’s shaming theory by identifying conditions under which its causal process might be more effective in explaining misbehavior. Using data elicited from 224 Russian respondents, we put the elaborated version of shaming theory to the test in its. In line with previous research, study findings indicate that, contrary to the theory’s predictions, being reintegratively shamed is positively associated with projected deviance. While some of the hypothesized contingencies seem to condition the effects of shaming on projected deviance, none of our findings confirm original hypotheses. These results, in conjunction with the accumulated body of research, suggest that reintegrative shaming theory may be in need of further revision. (author's abstract)
Braithwaite, John. Rape, Shame and Pride. Address to Stockholm Criminology Symposium, 16 June 2006.
A proposition of the theory of reintegrative shaming is that a reason some societies have lower rates of rape is that rape is unthinkable to most men in those societies. This presentation shows how war interrupts the unthinkableness of rape. Bougainville society seems to have had a low level of rape until its war of the 1980s and 1990s. A single rape was one of the important sparks that lit its civil war. It caused perhaps over 5% of the population to lose their lives and perhaps over a third to be displaced from their homes. As in most wars, rape became common in Bougainville. A theory of why war causes epidemics of rape helps criminologists understand rape better. It can also help international relations scholars to see that the bigger problem caused by armed conflict today may be crime rather than battle deaths. Rape in peace and in war is interpreted according to Eliza Ahmed’s theory of shame management and pride management. Ahmed’s work is seen as an important advance in evidence- based criminological theory. A deficiency of reintegrative shaming theory is that it neglects pride as the flip side of shame as an emotion. Shame displacement may be important to the explanation of rape; yet narcissistic pride may be more important. In war we see more vividly the social dynamics of how shame displacement and narcissistic pride allow both rape and the onset of war itself.Bougainville helps us to ponder how historically sustained, deep and broad restorative justice processes may be part of what is needed to return a society to peace and to low levels of rape.(author's abstract)
Church Council on Justice and Corrections. Justice for the soul: Shaming
As indicated in this article by the Church Council on Justice and Corrections (a coalition of faith-based individuals and organizations involved in oversight of the Canadian justice and corrections system), shame is something we all have likely felt at one time or another in life. For example, shame can result from embarrassing incidents in life, or from unkind comments directed at us by others. This is not the kind of shame or shaming promoted in certain restorative justice approaches, including conferencing. This article goes on to explain a restorative approach known as positive or reintegrative shaming - oriented around condemning an action but seeking to reintegrate the wrongdoer back into the community - and its use in conferencing processes.
Dansie, Elizabeth J.. A multigroup analysis of reintegrative shaming theory: An application to drunk driving offenses.
A restorative justice alternative to crime prevention termed reintegrative shaming theory by Braithwaite has seen increased attention as an alternative to retributive justice, although empirical investigations of its efficacy are limited. The purpose of the present study was to test confirmatory measurement and structural models of reintegrative shaming theory in order to assess the underlying theoretical model and the application of this theory in response to drunk driving offenses. Nine latent constructs were included in these models: reintegration, stigmatization, perceived fairness, self-esteem, shame-guilt, embarrassment-exposure, unresolved shame, offender responsibility, and family support. Multigroup structural equation modeling was used to assess for measurement invariance of indicators used to measure these nine latent constructs between 724 drunk driving offenders randomly assigned to traditional court processing versus offenders assigned to reintegrative shaming conferencing following arrest. Partial metric and partial scalar invariance were found. Thus, analyses proceeded by conducting tests for significant differences in the latent means between groups. Offenders assigned to conferencing reported significantly higher mean values on the constructs reintegration, perceived fairness, self-esteem, shame-guilt, and family support, supporting Braithwaite's theory. Finally, a structural model was hypothesized based upon Braithwaite's theory to assess the relationships between the latent constructs. Three additional structural paths were included to achieve an acceptable model fit. This structural model was found to be partially invariant between groups. As predicted, a higher level of reintegration was associated with greater perceived fairness, while a higher level of stigmatization was related to decreased self-esteem and lower perceived fairness. In turn, greater self-esteem and perceived fairness were significantly related to higher reported experiences of shameguilt and lower ratings of embarrassment-exposure. Greater perceived fairness also corresponded to lower reported unresolved shame. Finally, greater shame-guilt was significantly related to greater offender responsibility and family support, while unresolved shame was significantly related to less offender responsibility acceptance. The findings from the current study support Braithwaite's hypotheses regarding the importance and benefits of disapproving of the criminal act and not the person, while allowing offenders to accept responsibility for their actions and attempt to remediate the wrong that they committed. (author's abstract)
Editor. Newsletter Fall 2007
This issue of the Central Virginia Restorative Justice newsletter contains an article discussing the merits and uses of reintegrative shaming.
Edwards, Ian. The Place of Shame in Responses to Anti-Social Behavior
Government responses to 'anti-social behavior' have included, amongst others, two trends that employ shame in pursuit of crime prevention: "naming and shaming" of those subject to anti-social behavior orders (ASBOs) on one hand and restorative justice on the other. This article considers how the Government has made use of each, the dynamics of each shaming process, and the compatibility of these approaches. (author's abstract)
Goold, Benjamin. Restorative Cautioning, Theories of Reintegration, and the Influence of Japanese Notions of Shame
Certainly one of the most significant developments in the treatment of young offenders in Britain over the past decade has been the move away from punitive forms of cautioning towards a new type of informal disposal known as "restorative cautioning". Although there is now a considerable body of academic and professional literature that examines the theory and practice of restorative cautioning, recently little has been written about the intellectual and cultural origins of this new approach to punishment and dispute resolution. This article explains some of the central notions of restorative justice, drawing particular attention to the influence of Japanese notions of shame and community on cautioning practices in Britain and elsewhere. (excerpt)
Harris, Nathan and Burton, Jamie B. Testing the Reliability of Observational Measures of Reintegrative Shaming at Community Accountability Conferences and at Court
The inter-rater reliability of reintegrative shaming concepts was tested at Community Accountability Conferences and at court proceedings in Canberra, AUS. Data were collected from observation of 45 cases: 15 violence or property-related conferences; 15 drunk-driving conferences; and a mix of 15 drunk-driving, property-related, and violence-related court cases. The results indicate that components of reintegrative shaming theory can be observed reliably using systematic observation and global rating observation methods.
Harris, Nathan. Reintegrative Shaming, Shame, and Criminal Justice.
This study tested the implication of reintegrative shaming theory (RST) (Braithwaite, 1989) that social disapproval (shaming) has an effect on the emotions that offenders feel. Interviews were conducted with 720 participants who had recently attended a court case or family group conference in the Australian Capital Territory, having been apprehended for driving while over the legal alcohol limit. Analyses show that shame-related emotions were predicted by perceptions of social disapproval, but that the relationship was more complex than expected. Differences between the shame-related emotions may have implications for theory. Comparisons between the court cases and family group conferences were consistent with expectations that restorative justice interventions would be more reintegrative, but also showed that they were not perceived as less stigmatizing. (author's abstract)
Hendrix, Gina Marie. A Test of Reintegrative Shaming Theory's Concepts of Interdependence and Expressed Shame in Restorative Justice Conferencing.
This thesis examines Braithwaite's (1989) reintegrative shaming theory's concepts of interdependence and expressed shame. Interdependence is operationalized through an adaptation of Hirschi's (1969) social control theory, specifically attachment to mother, commitment to conventional institutions of church and school, and involvement in conventional activities. Data from the Indianapolis Restorative Justice Experiment are used. Bivariate analysis was employed to examine the relationship between diversion group assignment and levels of interdependency and expressed shame. Multivariate analysis was employed to examine the relationship of interdependency and expressed shame with re-offending. Results showed youths that completed restorative justice conferencing had higher levels of interdependency and expressed shame than control youths, but interdependency and expressed shame were not predictive of re-offending. Limitations and implications are discussed. Author's abstract.
John Braithwaite video introduction to restorative justice
John Braithwaite is a leader in restorative justice (and in many other fields). He teaches at Australian National University which has now posted an 18 minute video in which he explains the basic theories and applications of restorative justice. It is well done, and is presented in segments, which means it can be used in whole or in part.
Karp, David R. The new debate about shame in criminal justice: An interactionist account.
The shame debate is occurring largely in law reviews, and shaming is being used by an apparently growing number of judges across the country. These shame penalties can be divided into two categories: public exposure penalties and debasement penalties. Public exposure penalties can include a bumper sticker that labels drunk driving offenders, a sign in front of an offender's home, advertisements in newspapers, and the wearing of a T-shirt that labels the offender. Debasement penalties are designed to lower the status of the offender in the community through humiliation. This can include the performing of menial and degrading tasks. Labeling theory posits that a person's sense of self and behavior that stems from self-concept are directly related to the labels and perceptions imposed on the individual in societal and institutional interactions. This article concludes, based on labeling theory, that judicial shame penalties are problematic, in that they may isolate the offender and drive the offender toward alienated and delinquent-prone peer groups. Reintegrative shaming, on the other hand, such as is found in restorative justice programs, are more promising. Such shaming requires that offenders perform positive tasks that show the community they are committed to positive behavior that makes them worthy to be restored into the community. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org
Levi, Michael. Suite Justice or Sweet Charity? Some Explorations of Shaming and Incapacitating Business Fraudsters
In reviewing the extent to which fraudulent behavior attracts shaming responses and the extent to which fraudsters are likely to care about the shame imposed on them, this article explored the use of shaming and stigma against white-collar criminals or financial criminals and evidence on their impact. Shame can unintentionally turn into stigma when some of those shamed are inappropriate targets. Shame is a subjective emotional state of significant complexity, where without social hypocrisy shaming would be reduced. This study examined the conditions or stages of successful shaming which included: (1) the application of shaming and its interpretation by significant others; (2) the offenders’ behavior must change in response; and (3) reintegration into society. The examination revealed that potential damage to business prospects was potentially more important then shame per se to the impact of informal sanctions. However, culture was seen as an important component of the process of shaming. Additional research was recommended to offer confidence in the effectiveness of shame aside from the difficulties of applying it in practice.
Losoncz, Ibolya and Tyson, Graham. Parental Shaming and Adolescent Delinquency: A Partial Test of Reintegrative Shaming Theory.
The past decade has seen an increase in the application of Braithwaite's reintegrative shaming theory as a framework for restorative justice programs. However, to date the theory has received little empirical testing of the theory by exploring the appropriateness of the causal model put forward by Braithwaite. One-hundred- and- seventy Year 9 and Year 10 high school students from two government high schools in the Australian Capital Territory completed a survey capturing projected delinquency, delinquent peers and family processes. Principlan component analysis found an overlap between aspects of shaming with reintegration and stigmatisation. Furthermore, not all facets of reintegration and stigmatisation were found to be discrete concepts. Results from subsequent structural equation modelling were largely supportive of RST, particularly the theory's emphasis on the harmful effects of stigmatisation and the beneficial effects of reintegration. However, shaming, as defined in the theory, may not affect predatory crime in the way it is predicted by RST. (author's abstract)
Lu, Catherine. Shame, Guilt and Reconciliation after War.
How do experiences of shame and guilt shape or reflect the ways in which the vanquished are reconciled (or not) to the new world order established by the victors? Shame and guilt are universal experiences in the emotional landscape of post-war politics, albeit for different reasons and with radically different political effects. An examination of Germany after 1918 and of Japan after 1945 reveals that experiences of shame and guilt may be pivotal for creating conditions of possibility for reconciliation marked by political and moral transformation. This transformative potential of shame and guilt, however, is a double-edged sword. In threatening old identities, values and beliefs, experiences of shame and guilt may provoke defensive, reactionary and violent political responses, and thus may precipitate hideous rather than salutary transformations. Political leadership and political culture are crucial factors in shaping the kind of reconciliation – reactionary or transformative – as well as the specific nature of transformations that experiences of shame and guilt may motivate the vanquished to pursue. (author's abstract)
Maxwell, Gabrielle and Morris, Allison. What is the Place of Shame in Restorative Justice?
As Gabrielle Maxwell and Allison Morris observe, John Braithwaite’s theory of reintegrative shaming (1989) has been quite influential in providing a basis for restorative justice in general and for some forms of conferencing in particular. (Braithwaite himself linked shaming with family group conferences in New Zealand and traditional Maori conflict resolution processes.) Following this, Masters (1998) argued that shame is a critical component in the development of effective restorative justice. Maxwell and Morris dissent. They do not link shaming with family group conferences in New Zealand, nor do they see shaming as an essential part of restorative justice. Hence, in this essay Maxwell and Morris question these presumed links between shaming and effective crime control at both theoretical and empirical levels.
Menzel, Kenneth. Circle Sentencing as a Shaming Sanction
At its heart, circle sentencing is a form of shaming. In the presence of the victim of her crime, her peers, and the community at large, an offender must own up to the wrongful conduct in which she engaged. By personally publicizing her criminal act, an offender can expect to feel markedly embarrassed, decidedly shaken, and wholeheartedly regretful. Thus, instilling shame upon the offender is a major purpose of circle sentencing. At the same time, however, the shame instilled upon the offender lasts no longer than the length of that particular circle sentencing episode. By virtue of the personalized nature of the sentence, the legitimacy of the sentence giver, and the atmosphere conducive to apology, the offender is reincorporated back into the community without any lingering badge of dishonor. Simply put, the shame placed upon the offender, while great, is also finite and is ultimately lifted in favor of community reintegration.

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