An Inside Look At Public Shaming Essay

An Inside Look At Public Shaming Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter offers the reader an inside look at public shaming as a punishment. Throughout the book, Hester Prynne’s punishment requires her to wear a scarlet “A” on her bosom because she committed adultery and ultimately got caught. Similar to Hester Prynne and her community, judges today sentence criminals to public shaming as a reprimand for committing crimes. However, public shaming is unfair and should not be used in the United States court system.
Public shaming penalties cannot guarantee consistency between each punishment; therefore, public shaming is unconstitutional and unethical to use within the United States court system. Every year, millions of people pass through courtroom doors, and every year, millions of criminals walk out of the same doors with similar punishments. However, if public shaming was legal within the system of law, each person could face a unique punishment. For example, crimes that are punishable by public shaming cannot be equally assessed because public shaming penalties do not adhere to the typical process of assigning punishments to each criminal. Furthermore, each court case is individualized; therefore, there is no way to guarantee that each case is consistent and just. The state orders that it has an applied process “to determine whether the person being punished has in fact committed the thing for which they are being punished” (Klonick 1054). The observations prove that when a judge assigns a public degradation punishment, there can be no certainty that the process and consequences for a certain criminal are consistent with others who broke the same law. Furthermore, the lack of structure regarding public shaming sentences allows judges to avoid specific guidel...


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... Unfortunately, a simple sign that reads “a criminal lives here” can alter the life of an innocent third-party. Companies are also affected because public reprimanding would expose an employee who committed a minor crime, like a traffic offense, to the rest of the community and ultimately harm the reputation of the business. With its power to ruin people’s mental health and social well-being, public shaming should not be used as a way to punish criminals.
After looking into the potential benefits and withdrawals of public abashment, it can be concluded that with its harmful consequences and unconstitutional background, public humiliation should never be accepted as a punishment in the United States court system. While it may seem like a cunning idea, public shaming should merely be left to Hester Prynne and her scarlet “A” in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

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