Media as a Tool for Disintegrative Shaming

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  • The use of media outlets for the purpose of shaming an offender in a retributive and isolating fashion. Disintegrative shaming is distinct from reintegrative shaming, which does not seek to isolate the offender. Disintegrative shaming has a long history—punishments such as the stockade or public whippings were used to shame offenders into not repeating their behavior. The use of the media for disintegrative shaming reaches a potentially large audience and, therefore, may ensure that the offender is isolated from a much larger community. These methods are sometimes used by overtaxed criminal justice systems as an alternative to criminal sanctions.

    In some cases, offenders have been forced to take out full-page newspaper advertisements in which they describe their crimes. Newspapers have also published the names and ...

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