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What is Wrong with Inflicting Shame Sanctions?

By James Q Whitman

Abstract

We are all aware that there was a time in the western world when punishment frequently revolved around the public humiliation of the offender. Everyone likes to read about the picturesque barbarism of the old punishments: the pillory, the stocks, the ducking stool, branding, and so on.\u27 Many of us are also dimly aware that such shame sanctions continue to be used in much of the nonwestern world. It is common knowledge, for example, that public humiliation of a dramatic sort was featured in the law of Maoist China; its rituals of self-criticism, public admonition, and public exposure of offenders are well known. It is also widely known that such shame sanctions have continued to feature in the practice of the People\u27s Republic,\u27 where ,economic\u22 criminals may still be trucked around town wearing signs describing their offenses. Many countries other than China are known for employing such practices as well.\u27 Most recently, the media have focused on the humiliation rituals of the Islamic legal revival broadly, and of the Afghan Taliban, in particular

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:fss_papers-1651
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