Is public shaming an effective punishment?

Drivers snap shots as they pass
Drivers snap shots as they pass
Howard Stiller, Albany attorney
Howard Stiller, Albany attorney

It was recently when we heard of the Ohio man who was forced to wear a sign declaring he was a bully, it was part of his punishment ordered from a judge after he harassed a disabled family next door.

His sign read: "I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in."

So the question is, is public humiliation effective to stop re-offenders?

Albany attorney, Howard Stiller, says public humiliation as a form of punishment isn't something new, courts have been doing it for years, dating back to medieval England when it was very popular.

"Some people whose social standing  and perception of themselves as an upstanding citizen is important to them, that's going to have an effect on them," Stiller said.

However, Stiller says it doesn't work on everyone.

According to an article in the National Journal, some feel that this type of punishment "could demonize low-level offenders in difficult personal situations" forcing them to actually continue the cycle.

The article also states that some judges order these sentences because it is financially smarter.

But not all of those who are forced to wear or hold up a sign are criminals, some children are also subjected as well. Their parents say they feel they had no other choice to get through to them.

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