To Shame or Not To Shame
The use of shame as a punishment seems to be contagious through the United States court system as an alternative to incarceration of non-violent crimes. When considering the effectiveness of this act, reading the effects of shame as a punishment for criminals’ calls for analytical comparison. Dan M. Kahan’s “Shame Is Worth a Try” argues that shame is cheap and effective. Kahan’s belief in shameful punishments has support from evidence alluding to the cheapness and effectiveness of the punishment. In contrast, June Tangney’s “Condemn the Crime, Not the Person,” argues that a punishment based on shame does not get the right message across to the criminal. Tangney suggests that punishment based on guilt will bring out regret over the crime committed. Although both articles present valid points about using shame as punishment, Kahan’s article lacks professionalism and evidence, while Tangney gives a more credible argument. Both authors give valid arguments on why shame as a punishment can be an alternative to incarceration of non-violent crimes. Kahan believes that shame is worth a try. He states, “shame is cheap and effective and frees up scarce prison space for the more serious offenses” (Kahan 573). He sees shame as an alternative to incarceration. Kahan states, “Nor do we condemn offenders to educate the retarded” (572). When Kahan uses the word “retarded” it shows some unprofessionalism in his article. It can also steer readers away from his point of view because some may find the word “retarded” to be offensive. Kahan also believes that using shaming punishments has better effects than community service. He states, “indeed, saying that such community service is punishment for the criminal insults both those who perform such services voluntarily and those whom the services are suppose to benefit” (Kahan 572). Kahan statement makes a valid point. Those who put forth the effort of serving their community should not have to work with...
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