Glencoe's Corrections in the 21st Century
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 Newsletter: Related Articles

Chapter 3 — Punishments: A Brief History

[Public Humiliation]
Nancy Bartley, "Is humiliation cruel as crime punishment?" Houston Chronicle, March 26, 2000, page 2ff.

As part of the Juvenile Justice Act, judges have more room for leniency in sentences with less than one year in confinement. As a result, judges like Niles Aubrey are using humiliation tactics as part of the offender's punishment. Aubrey sentenced a youthful car thief to 90 days in a detention center, a $100 fine, and 16 months of supervision during which time he has to wear a visible sign saying "I'm a car thief." Some experts say that a sentence such as this can do more harm than good because it reinforces the youth's self-image as a thief.

  • Is being forced to wear a sign declaring one's crime cruel and unusual punishment? Why or why not?
  • Is there room for "creativity in sentencing" in the American legal system? Why or why not?